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Mexican farmer spreads the word on conservation agriculture
Image by CIMMYT
CIMMYT partner and Mexican farmer Ricardo Canales on his farm in Chimalpa, Apan, in the state of Hidalgo, where he practices conservation agriculture (CA). He was first drawn to try CA as a way to conserve soil moisture and ensure a decent crop even with scanty rainfall, and is now keen to spread its use among his fellow farmers. “If your neighbors see you doing something, they’ll want to copy it," he says.
The aim of CA is to produce stable, high yields with low environmental impact, through applying the three key principles of zero tillage, residue retention, and crop rotation. These practices help to protect the structure of the soil, retain soil moisture, and prevent erosion. Direct seeding—without plowing—also cuts down on labor and resource use.
CIMMYT is developing an increasing number of hubs throughout Mexico and the world that function as centers for collaborative CA research, capacity-building, demonstration and dissemination, engaging diverse actors and fostering the emergence of regional CA networks. Farmers are crucial partners in developing and spreading effective CA systems. Satellite trial and demonstration plots in farmers’ fields help to adapt CA practices to local conditions, and let other farmers see how well CA works.
For the latest news on conservation agriculture, see CIMMYT’s blog at: blog.cimmyt.org/?s=conservation+agriculture.
For more on CIMMYT’s ever-growing network of hubs in Mexico, see the August 2009 e-news story "The verdict is in: Conservation agriculture trials needed for the long run," available online at: www.cimmyt.org/en/about-us/media-resources/newsletter/316….
Photo credit: M. DeFreese/CIMMYT.
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