Failing to Yield? Ploughs, conservation agriculture and the problem of agricultural intensification: An example from the Zambezi Valley, Zimbabwe

F. Baudron, J.A. Andersson, M. Corbeels, K.E. Giller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Agricultural intensification, or increasing yield, has been a persistent theme in policy interventions in African smallholder agriculture. This article focuses on two hegemonic policy models of such intensification: (1) the ‘Alvord model’ of plough-based, integrated crop-livestock farming promoted in colonial Zimbabwe; and (2) minimum-tillage mulch-based, Conservation Agriculture, as currently preached by a wide range of international agricultural research and development agencies. An analysis of smallholder farming practices in Zimbabwe's Zambezi Valley, reveals the limited inherent understanding of farmer practices in these models. It shows why many smallholder farmers in southern Africa are predisposed towards extensification rather than intensification, and suggests that widespread Conservation Agriculture adoption is unlikely.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-412
JournalJournal of Development Studies
Volume48
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • resource-poor farmers
  • land husbandry act
  • communal area
  • africa
  • management
  • discourse
  • nigeria

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