Conservation agriculture in Tanzania

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Springer International Publishing Switzerland


Conservation agriculture is promoted to increase crop production and environmental sustainability. It is proposed to be a solution for the problem of poor agricultural yields and soil degradation in most Sub-Saharan African countries. Conservation agriculture is among the climate-smart practices recommended in Tanzania to curb the impacts caused by climate change. It involve the use of organic soil management practices such as reduced tillage, mulching and leguminous crops. Agroecosystems such as agroforesty, soil organic fertilization and better crop rotation are also included. This chapter reviews the adoption trends of conservation agriculture in Tanzania and their implications to both socio-economic and environmental benefits. We found that the adoption of conservation agricultural practices has spatial and temporal variations. For example in Arusha, farmers use mainly terraces while in Dodoma they use conservational tillage. The ‘Matengo pits’ and terraces in the Ruvuma Region have improved both maize and coffee production. In the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor (SAGCOT) planting basins have doubled maize yields compared to that of conventional tillage. In areas with irrigation potentials, conservation agriculture has increased crop yields in drought ecosystems over time. In the northern part of Tanzania the adoption of conservation agriculture has increased the production of food crop crops from an average of 0.5 ton ha−1 to 1.5 ton ha−1. Subsequently, maize yields have increased from 12,000 kg to 20,000 kg per 4.8 hectares and 3.75 t per hectare when intercropped with lablab. The interest in adopting conservation agriculture has been driven by its ability to enable someyields even in poor rainfall scenario. The review focused on the existing farming management, principles and benefits of conservation agriculture to farmers, society and environment as well as its challenges facing this system.



Climate change, Semi-arid, Agroforestry, Organic fertilization, Planting basins, Terraces, Environmental services, Food security, Crop yields, Tanzania