Evaluating potential for conservation agriculture in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Malawi

Conservation agriculture (CA) is being promoted as an option for reducing soil degradation, conserving water, enhancing crop productivity, and maintaining yield stability. However, CA is a knowledge- and technology-intensive practice, and may not be feasible or may not perform better than conventional agriculture under all conditions and farming systems. 

In this recent article in the Environmental Management (Feb 2015) our CIMMYT colleagues discuss results of a study that used high resolution (≈1 km2) biophysical and socioeconomic geospatial data to identify potential recommendation domains for conservation agriculture in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Malawi. The biophysical variables used were soil texture, surface slope, and rainfall while the socioeconomic variables were market access and human and livestock population densities.

The results indicate considerable acreages of land with high CA adoption potential in the mixed crop–livestock systems of the studied countries. The information generated in this study could be used for prioritizing CA-related agricultural research and investment priorities in the three countries.


Full citation: Tesfaye, K.; Jaleta, M.; Jena, P.; and Mutenje, M.. 2015. Identifying Potential Recommendation Domains for Conservation Agriculture in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Malawi. Environmental Management (2015) 55:330-346.http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00267-014-0386-8

This work was undertaken as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (Research Flagship 1, Global and regional foresight modeling tools). The authors acknowledge financial support from EU-IFAD under the Conservation Agriculture and Smallholder Farmers in Eastern and Southern Africa (CASFESA) project (Grant No. COFIN-ECG-54-CIMMYT) and the Malawi Natural Resources Department for providing some biophysical data. Special support from Fite Getaneh and Alemu Tolemariam in validation survey work on the ground in Ethiopia is highly appreciated. 


Featured image: Malawian farmer with CA plot. Photo credit: CIMMYT, Flickr

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