The Contribution of Conservation Farming towards Sustainable Rural Development and Household Food Security: The Case of Bikita District in Zimbabwe

Barbra Mapuranga, Kudzai Chiwanza, Maxwell C.C. Musingafi, Ishmael Pombi


This paper focuses on conservation farming (CF) with a view to recommending a paradigm shift in Zimbabwe’s peasant farming sector. The study comes against the background of declining agricultural productivity on account of a range of factors. Traditional peasant farming typically involves frequent and intensive turning of the soil thus depriving the soil of cover. In addition, it stresses mono-cropping, suggesting that it is unsustainable. In contrast to this, conservation farming entails minimum or nil soil disturbance, soil cover maintenance, and crop rotation, implying that it is sustainable. The research was largely premised on qualitative methodology. Unstructured interviews, focus group discussions, on-site observation and transect walks were employed as techniques for data gathering. Using these methodological techniques, it was revealed that conservation farming was smoothly appreciated by beneficiaries although some laggards took time to appreciate its value towards sustainable and rural development and food security. Adoption in Bikita was tremendous and this has improved household food security. The paper recommends conservation farming adoption countrywide in the communal areas.

Keywords: conservation farming, conventional farming, food security, sustainable development, agriculture

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