Conservation Agriculture: strengthening crop production in marginal areas
Conservation Agriculture (CA) – the practice of not plowing and leaving crop residue in fields for enhanced soil fertility and moisture conservation – was first introduced to Tunisia in 1999, where it was pilot-tested on 11 farms in the country’s North-East. While the area cultivated under CA has since grown, the practice is still applied on only 12,000 ha of agricultural land – an area distributed among 200 farmers and operated by some 102 seeders. Conservation Agriculture has the potential to enhance soil fertility and reduce erosion across 260,000 hectares (ha) of fragile and degraded cereal land in Tunisia. For this to be successful it is necessary to identify limitations and intervene at different levels. In the brief are identified three main action strategies: (I) identification of adoption constraints; (II) appropriate institutional framework; (III) identification of suitable areas for CA adoption.