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Evergreen Agriculture: extension manual for farmers and extension workers in Malawi

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This product is a stepwise development in the food security sector as it will help a number of rural development agencies a nd practitioners in building their capacities to implement conservation agriculture and agroforestry. Over a number of years since colonial era farming system has been characterized by ridge construction through the use of either ridgers or ploughs or han d hoes. The wholesome tillage of land during land preparation and the burning of crop residues s caled up and were widely adopted without questioning its subsequent ecological and socio - economic effects. T he agricultural extension system and academic instit utions promoted the tillage system as a recommended cultural practice. History indicates that there was a considerable huge enforcement of the construction of planting ridges contour marker ridges and contour bunds in the colonial era and continued during post independence era. Research on zero or minimum or reduced tillage gained footing in the 70‟s and 80‟s when Latin America and North America observed success stories on zero tillage. However in Malawi there had been little counter - evidence against the former practice as a result the status quo remained until recently when there seems to be a conservation tillage movement across the world. It should be emphasized that much as there have been both scientific and practical evidence that conservation agri culture and agroforestry work evergreen agriculture is still in its infant stages in Malawi and across the continent and gradual development will ensue and patience should be observed. Evidence on positive effects of both agroforestry and conservation ag riculture have been obtained over a period of time and across a wide range of agro - ecological areas. These include improve yields reduced amounts of chemical fertilizer application improved soil fertility and reduced soil erosion among a number of benefi ts.

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