When we remember the land, the land remembers us
Development and testing of soil friendly agriculture
Ethiopia´s agriculture is characterised by low productivity resulting mainly in soil degradation and the inefficient use of water resources. Virtually all of the country’s crop farming is operated by smallholder farmers, practising traditional plough-based cultivation. Conventional farming with frequent ploughing gradually degrades the physical structure and chemical quality of tropical soils. The dire situation Ethiopia is facing has prompted the government and other actors in agriculture to identify and implement alternative farm-level practices that increase productivity without undermining the natural resources.
Conservation Agriculture is a low-cost agricultural method that only minimally disturbs the soil, maintaining permanent soil cover and carrying out crop rotations. Besides minimising damage to the soil, this form of agriculture also contributes to the improvement of the soil's water content, the stability and fertility of the soil, the reduction of soil erosion and to the conservation or restoration of organic soil matter, thus lessening carbon dioxide emissions. Yields are not affected by the practice and production costs are even reduced as less time,labour and machinery is needed.
The aim of this component is to develop a site adapted, soil-friendly agriculture scheme, based on the multi-benefit approach of Conservation Agriculture, to be introduced in the Lake Tana area. Introductory on Conservation Agriculture workshops will be held for representatives of the relevant agricultural authorities. Various technologies and implementation schemes will be assessed and developed to be compatible with the conditions in the Lake Tana region. Examples such as the No-till Maize Planted from Zambia will be taken into consideration. A communication and practical training strategy, including a training manual, will be developed for the local rural population. In addition, a site will be selected to act as a demonstration site for the pilot cultivation of maize, teff, wheat and chickpeas.