Trade-offs of crop residue use in smallholder mixed farming systems in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia uri icon


  • One of the three pillars of CA is the use of crop residues (CR) for mulching. However, in smallholder farming systems that combine crop production and livestock husbandry (mixed systems), CR are usually an essential source of feed, restricting their availability for mulching. Additionally in these systems, CR fulfil other functions such as providing fuel and additional income through sale. Smallholder production in mixed systems supports the livelihoods of almost two thirds of the global population, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (Herrero et al., 2010). The integration between crops and animals not only enhances agricultural production, but also improves household food intake and income and provides a buffer against climate risks (Thornton, 2010). The need to cover their own food requirements and household expenses pushes smallholder farmers to favour practices with positive returns in the short term, which may affect the sustainability of the systems in the long term. Farmers? decisions are influenced by biophysical and socio-economic drivers including climate, population dynamics, market access and other institutional mechanisms. The focus of this paper is on the trade-offs of CR use in a range of smallholder mixed systems in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (SA). The objective of this paper is threefold: (i) to describe the different CR farmer uses in these mixed systems; (ii) to understand what biophysical and socio-economic drivers explain differences in CR allocation; and (iii) to include these findings in the broader discussion on long term sustainability issues in mixed systems and constraints for CA practices adoption

publication date

  • 2011