Conservation Agriculture (CA)

Conservation Agriculture (CA) is defined as an approach to manage agro-ecosystems for improved and sustained productivity, increased profits and food security, while preserving and enhancing the resource base and the environment.

According to FAO, Conservation Agriculture is a farming system that promotes minimum soil disturbance (i.e. no tillage), maintenance of a permanent soil cover, and diversification of plant species.

Conservation agriculture is based on the interrelated principles of minimal mechanical soil disturbance, permanent soil covers with living or dead plant material, and crop diversification through rotation or intercropping.

Three principles of Conservation Agriculture:

  1. Minimum mechanical soil disturbance (i.e. no tillage) through direct seed and/or fertilizer placement.
  2. Permanent soil organic cover(at least 30 percent) with crop residues and/or cover crops.
  3. Species diversification through varied crop sequences and associations involving at least three different crops.