Gender and Conservation Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Synthesis of Evidence

Population Dynamics and Urbanization in Africa

  • November 2019
  • Technical Reports

Conservation agriculture (CA) is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as a crop farming practice characterized by simultaneous implementation of the three principles of minimal tillage and soil disturbance; minimum 30% permanent soil cover using crop residue and mulches; and crop rotation and intercropping with three or more types of crops (Brown, Llewellyn, & Nuberg, 2017).
In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), a partially modified practice of CA is more common. Smallholder farmers tend to adopt only one or two of the three principles. Some of the factors that affect the adoption and practice of CA by farmers include costs related to transitioning from
conventional agriculture; ability to effect change; perceived change benefits; and prevailing institutional and biophysical environment. Currently, only 0.3% of farmers in Africa practice CA in ways that meet the FAO specifications and only 0.8%, if the CA principles are applied in any combination and intensity. Overall, the practice of CA is much less common in SSA compared to Australia, Southeast Asia, Mexico, and the US.



Associate Research Scientist

Frederick Murunga Wekesah

Frederick Murunga Wekesah is an epidemiologist and a researcher. He…

View Profile