Conservation agriculture draws on locally produced technologies to increase productivity while using fewer resources

Publicado: 02 Marzo 2021
Última edición: 02 Marzo 2021
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If properly managed, conservation agriculture is generally a "win-win" situation for both farmers and the environment. Conservation agriculture often associated with livestock or local technologies such as zero-tillage seeders, enhances crop productivity, improves resource-use efficiency and soil health. As an alternative to conventional tillage (CT) for rainfed drylands, it avoids soil tillage, saves time and labour and conserves water and nutrients in the soil to make crop production more resilient to climate change.


América Central
Asia Central y del Norte
Europa Occidental y del Sur
África Oriente y África del Sur
África del Norte
Escala de aplicación
Campos de cultivo
Desierto caliente
Ecosistemas del desierto
Adaptación al cambio climático
Ciencia y investigación
Gestión de tierras
Mitigación del cambio climático
Prevención de erosión
Seguridad alimentaria
Lluvia errática
Calor extremo
Incremento de temperatura
Degradación de tierras y bosques
Pérdida de la biodiversidad
Cambio estacional
Usos conflictivos / impactos acumulativos
Pérdida de ecosistemas
Cosecha insostenible, incluida la sobrepesca
Falta de capacidad técnica
Falta de infraestructura
Falta de seguridad alimentaria
Objectivos de Desarrollo Sostenible
ODS 1 - Fin de la pobreza
ODS 2 - Hambre cero
ODS 13 - Acción por el clima
ODS 15 - Vida de ecosistemas terrestres
ODS 17 - Alianzas para lograr los objetivos


Tunisia | Bolivia, Nicaragua, Algeria, Mexico, Jordan, Tunisia


Climate change, erratic environmental conditions and population growth put pressure on agricultural systems. As a result of overexploitation to meet demand, soils are impoverished, which reduces productivity. This is particularly true in low- and middle-income countries in North Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, where rural people are highly vulnerable to unpredictable and variable rainfall. The increased frequency of droughts and extreme weather events, as well as changing food demands and preferences, further impact crop production and degrade biomass. Conservation agriculture can address these challenges. Used by a majority of farmers in Australia and Brazil, and by many in North America and other middle- and high-income countries, the solution has the potential to improve food security and preserve natural resources in dryland agro-ecosystems in Central and West Asia, the Middle East, and in North and sub-Saharan Africa.


The land users and farmers are the destined beneficiaries of this solution.

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

Conservation agriculture and related training to this practice help minimize the disturbance of the soil, keeping crop residues to maintain soil cover and crop rotation whilst the local-based machinery zero tillage helps compliment the positive impact related to the practice like a complementary solution complementing the core solution. The designed technology uses local inputs and mechanical skills to expand markets for repairs and technical services and create local jobs. As witnessed, farmers switching to conservation farming need chemical help to control weed, which could be economically less profitable for them therefore developing local jobs related to machinery related to conservation can help balance this bottleneck. Training involving farmers are empowering them to develop local markets and machinery that complement conservation agricultural practices. 

Impactos positivos

  • Zero-tillage seeder: Compared to imported machines, the seeders designed by local farmers produce similar yields but feature more sowing adjustability and a higher germination rate.
  • Increased yields: In Jordan, where wheat production is often constrained by prolonged drought, farmers in Irbid experienced average wheat yields that were 16 per cent higher than those achieved under conventional practices, generating net returns of US$296 per hectare.
  • Government support: After trials demonstrated a 19 per cent increase in wheat yields, Moroccan policymakers are including conservation agriculture in a national effort to reverse falling agricultural productivity and to stabilize yields.
  • Local job creation: The farmer-designed technology associated with conservation agriculture uses locally available parts and mechanical skills, creating jobs by expanding the market for repairs and technical services. 
  • Trainings: Nearly 1,200 women farmers and 600 young farmers were reached in Latin America and the Near East and North Africa region.
  • Cost-effective: Conservation agriculture reduces inputs and workloads for farmers.


The land users that have adopted Conservation Agriculture (CA) have indicated that they extremely appreciate the reduction in work also the cost of labour and fuel. Adnen Abdrabbou’s in Tunisia parted with traditional farming systems. He began practising CA instead. He opened up his farm for onsite CA trials to ICARDA and three national agricultural institutes – l’Institut National de Recherche Agronomique de Tunis, l’Institut National des Grandes Cultures, and l’Ecole Supérieure d'Agriculture du Kef. For Abdrabbou, the institutes’ involvement provided confidence, and he became the first Tunisian farmer to pioneer the technique. One of the trials has lasted two decades, making it the most well-known on-farm trial of CA in the country.

“As farmers, we borrow the land for a short time, and we are responsible for taking care of it until we hand it over to our children and their children,” he said. 

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ICARDA Solutions