Practical Guide to Conservation Agriculture in West Asia and North Africa
Conservation agriculture (CA) is a new method of agricultural production that is more productive and environmentally friendly than the common form of agriculture based on plowing and intensive soil tillage. However, adopting CA is not an easy process and involves a change not only in the way we think of agriculture, but also in agricultural policy and the institutions that support agricultural production, including input and output markets, credit, and research and extension systems. This manual serves as an introduction to CA, a guide to the benefits and difficulties associated with its adoption, and an introduction to the practical application of CA, together with some scientific background as to why the system works. As such, the guide aims to help farmers, extension specialists, researchers, and all stakeholders involved in agricultural production understand the principles and practices of CA, and why changing to the new system is necessary. Furthermore, the guide sets out the steps necessary for successful adaptation, adoption, and implementation of CA, and describes the practices and equipment necessary for success. However, there is no recipe for a successful CA system, and adaptation to local conditions and farmer need is always required. Those interested in CA are advised to contact farmers and technicians with experience in the system before embarking on the journey to sustainable agricultural production. The experience of these practitioners can help avoid the same mistakes being repeated and can be an invaluable aid in answering queries and overcoming doubts related to CA.