Conservation Agriculture and Scale of Appropriate Agricultural Mechanization in Smallholder Systems


This manual has focused on the need to amplify and accelerate adoption of conservation agriculture
(CA) practices that enable productivity increases on a sustainable basis. The development of the training
manual on ‘Conservation Agriculture and Scale Appropriate Agricultural Mechanization in Smallholder
Systems’ is an outcome of the series of advanced training programs on Conservation Agriculture
over past one decade. The objectives of this training manual are; (1) To foster capacity building of
researchers, extension workers, farmers and machinery manufacturers to promote CA in Asia and
Africa; and (2) To raise the awareness of policy planners and decision makers to develop a strategic plan
for the development of CA and agricultural mechanization in the developing world. There are several
initiatives in South Asia and Africa to promote CA practices as environment-friendly and alternative to
conventional agriculture. However, little has been done to document the CA practices or even lessons
learnt from these initiatives. Farmers today still lack access to information on CA practices. This is a
comprehensive manual that explains in a step by step easy to follow manner on how to implement
CA by smallholders in Asia and Africa. It explains what CA is, and why it is important, how to use CA
principles in the field and highlights the issues and challenges that researchers, farmers, machinery
manufacturers and service providers may encounter when they adopt and adapt CA practices. This
manual aims to be a valuable reference and is intended for use by researchers, agricultural extension
officers/workers, farmers, machinery manufacturers and service providers to promote CA in Asia
and Africa for increasing productivity and reducing poverty. It is written in clear, easy-to-understand
language, and is illustrated with numerous figures and tables. It is not intended to cover the subject of
conservation agriculture comprehensively but to provide an overview of the principles and practices.
Indeed, as the training draws from many distinct disciplines, it is unlikely that any one person will have
the necessary technical skills to cover the complete course content. Manual also focuses on two crucial
aspects: the provision of farm mechanization services as a viable business opportunity for entrepreneurs,
and the essential criteria of raising productivity in an environmentally sensitive and responsible way.
This manual is also designed to serve as source of information for custom hire service providers –
whether already in the business or intending to start their own hire service business – with skills and
competencies in both the technical and the management aspects of the small-scale mechanization
business. CA to reach smallholder farmers needed the publication of simplified technical manual. This
manual contains useful technical information on CA practices that offer practical answers to questions
normally asked by farmers of what, why, how.


Singh Y, Sidhu HS, Jat HS, Singh M, Chhokar RS, Setia R, Jat ML. 2020. Conservation Agriculture and Scale of Appropriate Agricultural Mechanization in Smallholder Systems. Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BISA), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) 180 p.