No-Tillage Farming for Sustainable Land Management: Lessons from the 2000 Brazil Study Tour | Land Portal

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December 2001
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In November 2000, the World Bank (WB) and the Brazilian Federation for Direct Planting into Crop Residue (FEBRAPDP) organized the third Study Tour on “Producer-Led Rural Organizations for Sustainable Land Management” (PRO-SLM), with particular emphasis on notillage systems (NT).1 The Study Tour followed a 10-day itinerary of over 1,000 km through Southern Brazil, covering Paraná and Santa Catarina States, two states which received WB support through land and micro-watershed management projects.</p> This Paper presents the salient features of NT development in Southern Brazil and discusses the lessons learned with special reference to the scope for adapting and developing such production systems to Africa, in line with the Better Land Husbandry approach advocated through the Soil Fertility Initiative (SFI) in several African countries.</p>In the context of this Paper, the term No-Tillage (NT) is used to describe the farming system studied in Brazil. NT has been an integral part of the (micro)watershed management approach developed in the Southern Brazilian states of Paraná and Santa Catarina. NT was developed in response to continuously declining land productivity under “conventional” systems based on soil tillage. The underlying land management principles that led to the development of NT systems were to protect the soil surface from sealing by rainfall, to achieve and maintain an open internal soil structure, and to develop the means for safe disposal of any surface runoff that would nevertheless still occur. Consequently, the NT technical strategy was based on three essential farm practices, namely: (i) not tilling the soil; (ii) maintaining soil cover at all times; and (iii) using suitable crop rotations. All three practices must be followed if improved results are to be obtained in a sustainable fashion.

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Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Evers, G.
Technical Cooperation Department
FAO Investment Centre, 2001
Investment Centre Division

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