Technologies

Conservation agriculture for maize-legume systems with velvet bean as a dense cover crop [Kenya]

Kilimo hifadhi

technologies_5775 - Kenya

Completeness: 90%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
{'additional_translations': {}, 'value': 'Eleanor Milne', 'user_id': '1573', 'unknown_user': False, 'template': 'raw'}
SLM specialist:
{'additional_translations': {}, 'value': 'Eleanor Milne', 'user_id': '1573', 'unknown_user': False, 'template': 'raw'}
SLM specialist:
{'additional_translations': {}, 'value': 'Eleanor Milne', 'user_id': '1573', 'unknown_user': False, 'template': 'raw'}
SLM specialist:
{'additional_translations': {}, 'value': 'Eleanor Milne', 'user_id': '1573', 'unknown_user': False, 'template': 'raw'}
SLM specialist:
{'additional_translations': {}, 'value': 'Eleanor Milne', 'user_id': '1573', 'unknown_user': False, 'template': 'raw'}
{'additional_translations': {}, 'value': 1048, 'label': 'Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)', 'text': 'Carbon Benefits Project (CBP)', 'template': 'raw'} {'additional_translations': {}, 'value': 1048, 'label': 'Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)', 'text': 'Carbon Benefits Project (CBP)', 'template': 'raw'} {'additional_translations': {}, 'value': 6230, 'label': 'Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)', 'text': 'Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) - Kenya', 'template': 'raw'}

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:

Yes

1.4 Declaration on sustainability of the described Technology

Is the Technology described here problematic with regard to land degradation, so that it cannot be declared a sustainable land management technology?

No

2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Conservation agriculture for maize-legume systems with velvet bean (Mucuna pruriens) as a dense cover crop is being promoted in western Kenya to address the challenges of land degradation, low crop yields, low incomes, high production costs and climate change.

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology

Description:

Agriculture in western Kenya suffers from low productivity due to the degraded landscape. The soils are predominantly acidic and low in fertility, with the yields of food staples, such as maize and common bean averaging 1 ton/ ha and 5 tons/ ha, respectively. Consequently, the smallholder farmers have encroached into the adjacent Kakamega and Nandi forests in their quest for supplementary agro-ecosystem services and farm incomes. Degradation of the agro-resource base is underpinned by unsustainable practices carried out under conventional farming; for example, continuous cultivation with low nutrient inputs, mono-cropping, removal of crop residues and full tillage. Some of these practices enhance climate change by intensifying the emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Therefore, widespread adoption of conservation agriculture (CA) technology is being promoted to reduce the adverse impacts of conventional farming and enhance sustainable land management, environmental protection, and climate change mitigation and adaptation in 10 micro-catchments located within a 5-km radius from the edge of Kakamega and Nandi forests. The CA technology is characterized by the principles of minimum mechanical soil disturbance, maintenance of at least 30 percent permanent organic soil cover, diversified cropping through intercropping and crop rotations, and weed control. These principles have been adapted to the local conditions and needs.

The establishment of CA technology begins with land preparation. That is, the existing weeds and previous crop residues in the field are either slashed, or controlled through the application of appropriate herbicides. All the residues are retained on soil surface as opposed to burning, or removal in the conventional system. Land preparation is followed by planting, where the jab planter is used for precise placement of seeds and fertilizers in un-ploughed field, or within the established planting hills and rip lines to minimize soil tillage. This contrasts with conventional farming practice where a plough, or a hand hoe is used to till the entire field and establish the planting holes for placing seeds and fertilizers. A combination of cereal (maize – Zea mays L.) and legumes (common bean – Phaseolus vulgaris L., soybean - Glycine max, velvet bean – Mucuna pruriens and cowpea – Vigna unguiculata) are either intercropped, or rotated in the field each season to optimize the use of the available soil resources, including water, nutrients, and micro-organisms. The main cereal-legume association involves the establishment of Mucuna pruriens under maize as a dense cover crop. In this cropping system, Mucuna pruriens seeds are sown within a spacing of 1 m × 0.5 m where they grow and spread to completely cover the soil surface. As the cover crop grows, the leaves fall and decompose on the ground, enriching the soil’s nutrients, organic matter and fertility. The maize - Mucuna pruriens mix is rotated with either sole common bean, soybean and cowpea crop, or an intercrop of maize with any of the legumes. Weeding is carried out using either selective herbicides, or weed scrapers. When designing the intercropping and rotation plans, crop families (N-fixing vs. non-fixing), root depths (shallow vs. deep roots), and susceptibility to diseases, pests and weeds are all considered.

Generally, CA technologies have multiple benefits for farmers and the environment. In the context of the Kakamega-Nandi forest landscape, the CA plots with Mucuna pruriens as a dense cover crop have shown improved soil organic matter, soil structure and nutrient status. It is expected that this will reduce the use of fertilizers over time. Most farmers have also reported that reduced tillage and direct placement of inputs (seeds and fertilizers) save them time, money, fuel, labour and inputs. Aside from saving resources, reduced tillage will ultimately enhance soil living organisms and mitigate atmospheric CO2 emissions through the decrease in fuel consumption and soil disturbance. Moreover, farmers have observed that the maize established with Mucuna pruriens as a cover crop remains green and healthy for long during mid-season dry spells compared to those under mono-culture, or light mulch. This implies that the CA technology also increases water infiltration and soil water content; thus, acting as insurance against drought. The increase in water infiltration and soil moisture occurs because the dense Mucuna pruriens cover crop not only regulates the soil surface temperatures and evaporation, but also reduces surface runoff and exposure to wind erosion. In addition, farmers have witnessed the suppression of weeds, such as Striga hermonthica (witchweed) in plots under dense cover crop and diversified cropping. Besides, diversified cropping through rotations has reduced the incidences of insect pests and diseases, as well as the risk of crop failure during extreme weather conditions and pest infestations. Specifically, farmers have noticed that the CA plots under maize - Mucuna pruriens intercrop are less affected by the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) compared to those under mono-culture. They have also noted that, in seasons of excessive rainfall, the maize intercropped with the common bean is usually harvested even when the common bean fails. Most importantly, these CA benefits have boosted maize yields by over 50 percent, meaning more food and income, and fewer forest encroachments.

Proper adoption of the CA technology by land users within the Kakamega-Nandi forest landscape is being hampered by several factors. Firstly, crop residues are inadequate due to competing uses, such as animal feed and fuel. At times, livestock is even allowed to graze on the stubble field, contravening the CA principles. Besides, some farmers have not fully embraced crop diversification and still grow maize throughout the seasons without rotation with other drought-tolerant cereals, such as sorghum and millet. Conventional ploughing is also quite entrenched. Further, some farmers still do not prefer Mucuna pruriens as a cover crop because of insufficient knowledge on the utilization of its inedible yields. Lastly, some farmers are finding it hard to access CA inputs and tools, such as the jab planters, weed scrapers, herbicides and seeds of Mucuna pruriens owing to either high prices, or shortages.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.4 Videos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment

Country:

Kenya

Region/ State/ Province:

Western region

Further specification of location:

Kakamega-Nandi forest landscape

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • applied at specific points/ concentrated on a small area
Is/are the technology site(s) located in a permanently protected area?

No

2.6 Date of implementation

Indicate year of implementation:

2019

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • during experiments/ research
  • through projects/ external interventions
Comments (type of project, etc.):

Projects and research focusing mainly on advancing land degradation neutrality and agricultural productivity in the area

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • improve production
  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation
  • preserve/ improve biodiversity
  • mitigate climate change and its impacts
  • create beneficial economic impact

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied

Land use mixed within the same land unit:

Yes

Specify mixed land use (crops/ grazing/ trees):
  • Agro-pastoralism (incl. integrated crop-livestock)

Cropland

Cropland

  • Annual cropping
Annual cropping - Specify crops:
  • cereals - maize
  • legumes and pulses - beans
  • legumes and pulses - peas
  • legumes and pulses - soya
Annual cropping system:

Maize/sorghum/millet intercropped with legume

Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 2
Specify:

Long rain season (March to May) and short rain season (October to December)

Is intercropping practiced?

Yes

If yes, specify which crops are intercropped:

Maize and legumes (i.e., common bean, soybean and velvet bean – Mucuna pruriens)

Is crop rotation practiced?

Yes

If yes, specify:

Maize and legumes (i.e., common bean, soybean and velvet bean – Mucuna pruriens)

Grazing land

Grazing land

Intensive grazing/ fodder production:
  • Cut-and-carry/ zero grazing
  • Improved pastures
Animal type:
  • cattle - dairy and beef (e.g. zebu)
Is integrated crop-livestock management practiced?

Yes

If yes, specify:

Manure is used for fertilization and crop residues are used as cattle feed

Products and services:
  • manure as fertilizer/ energy production
  • meat
  • milk
  • skins/ hides
  • transport/ draught

3.3 Has land use changed due to the implementation of the Technology?

Has land use changed due to the implementation of the Technology?
  • Yes (Please fill out the questions below with regard to the land use before implementation of the Technology)
Land use mixed within the same land unit:

Yes

Specify mixed land use (crops/ grazing/ trees):
  • Agro-pastoralism (incl. integrated crop-livestock)
Cropland

Cropland

  • Annual cropping
Annual cropping - Specify crops:
  • cereals - maize
Annual cropping system:

Continuous maize/sorghum/millet

Is intercropping practiced?

No

Is crop rotation practiced?

No

Grazing land

Grazing land

Intensive grazing/ fodder production:
  • Cut-and-carry/ zero grazing
Animal type:
  • cattle - dairy and beef (e.g. zebu)
Is integrated crop-livestock management practiced?

Yes

If yes, specify:

Manure is used for fertilization and crop residues are used as cattle feed

Products and services:
  • manure as fertilizer/ energy production
  • meat
  • milk
  • skins/ hides
  • transport/ draught

3.4 Water supply

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • rainfed

3.5 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • improved ground/ vegetation cover
  • minimal soil disturbance
  • integrated soil fertility management

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

agronomic measures

agronomic measures

  • A1: Vegetation/ soil cover
  • A2: Organic matter/ soil fertility
  • A3: Soil surface treatment
  • A6: Residue management
A3: Differentiate tillage systems:

A 3.2: Reduced tillage (> 30% soil cover)

A6: Specify residue management:

A 6.4: retained

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

soil erosion by water

soil erosion by water

  • Wt: loss of topsoil/ surface erosion
soil erosion by wind

soil erosion by wind

  • Et: loss of topsoil
chemical soil deterioration

chemical soil deterioration

  • Cn: fertility decline and reduced organic matter content (not caused by erosion)
physical soil deterioration

physical soil deterioration

  • Pc: compaction
biological degradation

biological degradation

  • Bl: loss of soil life
water degradation

water degradation

  • Ha: aridification

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • reduce land degradation

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology

{'additional_translations': {}, 'content_type': 'image/jpeg', 'preview_image': '/media/b5/a/b5a30123-76ba-4118-92d9-8a6708e5ba45.jpg', 'key': 'Technical drawing', 'value': '/media/5f/5/5f5c606b-5ff0-436c-9c53-e0dbf57b1d4c.jpg', 'template': 'raw'}
Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

The first technical drawing shows a typical farm under CA with various principles:
A - Clearance of weeds and previous crop residues through slashing in preparation for planting in season 1 (long rains). The residues are retained on the plot.
B - In a plot under total soil cover with Mucuna pruriens, maize seed and fertilizer are placed at the precise planting hills, denoted by the white circles along the red line, using a jab planter to minimize soil tillage.
C - Maize crop establishes under the dense cover of Mucuna pruriens.
D - Weeding of the maize crop is done using a weed scraper.
E & F - In season 2 (short rains), after harvesting maize in the previous maize – Mucuna cropping system and cutting down the residues, either a row intercropping system with alternate rows of maize and soybean (E), or maize and common bean (F) under maize straw mulch is established.
G & H - Alternatively, in season 2 (short rains), either sole common bean (cowpea, or soybean) production under maize straw mulch (G), or total soil cover with Mucuna pruriens (H) is established in the plot.

Author:

Sam Koile, Kennedy Were & George Ayaga

Date:

31/05/2020

{'additional_translations': {}, 'content_type': 'image/jpeg', 'preview_image': '/media/b5/a/b5a30123-76ba-4118-92d9-8a6708e5ba45.jpg', 'key': 'Technical drawing', 'value': '/media/5f/5/5f5c606b-5ff0-436c-9c53-e0dbf57b1d4c.jpg', 'template': 'raw'}
Technical specifications (related to technical drawing):

The second technical drawing is an illustration of a four season (2-year) rotation of maize, legumes and cover crop

Author:

Kennedy Were, Sam Koile & George Ayaga

Date:

15/07/2020

4.2 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Specify how costs and inputs were calculated:
  • per Technology area
Indicate size and area unit:

1 ha

If using a local area unit, indicate conversion factor to one hectare (e.g. 1 ha = 2.47 acres): 1 ha =:

2.47 acres

other/ national currency (specify):

KES

If relevant, indicate exchange rate from USD to local currency (e.g. 1 USD = 79.9 Brazilian Real): 1 USD =:

107.08

Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:

300

4.3 Establishment activities

Activity Timing (season)
1. Purchase of CA tools - jab planter, knapsack sprayer, protection gear, slasher, weed scraper, and gunny bag) Initial stage

4.4 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Equipment Jab planter Piece 2.0 1500.0 3000.0 100.0
Equipment Knapsack sprayer Piece 2.0 2500.0 5000.0 100.0
Equipment Protection gear Piece 2.0 1000.0 2000.0 100.0
Equipment Weed scraper Piece 2.0 500.0 1000.0 100.0
Equipment Slasher Piece 2.0 500.0 1000.0 100.0
Equipment Gunny bag Piece 50.0 50.0 2500.0 100.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 14500.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology in USD 135.41

4.5 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Timing/ frequency
1. Land preparation - Slashing Initial stage
2. Preparing the planting hills and rip lines Initial stage
3. Planting - placing seeds and fertilizer using jab planter Initial stage
4. Herbicide application Initial and growing stages
5. Pesticide application Growing stage
6. Fertilizer application (top-dressing) Growing stage
7. Harvesting, drying and shelling Final stage

4.6 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Land preparation - slashing and herbicide application Man day 4.0 300.0 1200.0 100.0
Labour Planting - preparing the planting hills and placing seeds and fertilizer Man day 38.0 300.0 11400.0 100.0
Labour Top-dressing and pesticide application Man day 8.0 300.0 2400.0 100.0
Labour Harvesting, shelling and drying Man day 30.0 300.0 9000.0 100.0
Plant material Maize seed Kg 20.0 250.0 5000.0 100.0
Plant material Legume seed Kg 8.0 250.0 2000.0 100.0
Fertilizers and biocides Planting fertilizer Kg 125.0 60.0 7500.0 100.0
Fertilizers and biocides Top-dressing fertilizer Kg 125.0 50.0 6250.0 100.0
Fertilizers and biocides Pesticide Litre 2.0 1250.0 2500.0 100.0
Fertilizers and biocides Herbicide Litre 5.0 875.0 4375.0 100.0
Other Transport Km 5.0 1500.0 7500.0 100.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology 59125.0
Total costs for maintenance of the Technology in USD 552.16

4.7 Most important factors affecting the costs

Describe the most determinate factors affecting the costs:

1. Prevailing market prices of the inputs, equipment and labour.

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Specifications/ comments on rainfall:

Rainfall is bi-modal with the long rain season starting from March to May, and the short rains from October to December.

Agro-climatic zone
  • humid
  • sub-humid

mean annual temperature varies from 18 to 29° C

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
Landforms:
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.
Indicate if the Technology is specifically applied in:
  • not relevant

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
  • fine/ heavy (clay)
Soil texture (> 20 cm below surface):
  • medium (loamy, silty)
  • fine/ heavy (clay)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • medium (1-3%)
  • low (<1%)

5.4 Water availability and quality

Ground water table:

5-50 m

Availability of surface water:

medium

Water quality (untreated):

poor drinking water (treatment required)

Water quality refers to:

both ground and surface water

Is water salinity a problem?

No

Is flooding of the area occurring?

No

5.5 Biodiversity

Species diversity:
  • medium
Habitat diversity:
  • medium

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Sedentary or nomadic:
  • Sedentary
Market orientation of production system:
  • subsistence (self-supply)
  • mixed (subsistence/ commercial)
Off-farm income:
  • less than 10% of all income
  • 10-50% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • poor
  • average
Individuals or groups:
  • individual/ household
Level of mechanization:
  • manual work
  • animal traction
Gender:
  • women
  • men
Age of land users:
  • middle-aged
  • elderly

5.7 Average area of land used by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • small-scale

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • individual, not titled
  • individual, titled
Land use rights:
  • individual
Water use rights:
  • communal (organized)
  • individual
Are land use rights based on a traditional legal system?

Yes

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

health:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
education:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
markets:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
energy:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts

Production

crop production

decreased
increased
Quantity before SLM:

24 bags/ ha

Quantity after SLM:

43 bags/ ha

Comments/ specify:

This can be attributed to the multiple benefits of the CA technology, such as improved soil organic matter content and nutrient status. Note: A standard bag weighs 90 kgs.

crop quality

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

The multiple benefits of the CA technology, such as improved soil conditions and alleviation of pests and diseases, not only increased crop production (yields), but also the quality of the crops.

fodder production

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

Increased crop production also means increased fodder production because the crop residues are partly used as animal feed

fodder quality

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

Increased crop quality also implies increased fodder quality because the crop residues are partly used as animal feed

risk of production failure

increased
decreased
Comments/ specify:

Specifically,
- the maize established with Mucuna pruriens as a cover crop have remained green and healthy for long during mid-season dry spells. The CA technology increases water infiltration and soil moisture because the dense cover crop not only regulates the soil surface temperatures and evaporation, but also reduces surface runoff
- the CA plots under maize - Mucuna pruriens inter-crop have been less affected by the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda).
- in seasons of excessive rainfall, the maize intercropped with the common bean has been harvested even when the common bean fails.

product diversity

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

Farmers not only grow maize, but also mix or rotate it with common bean, soybean and cowpea

land management

hindered
simplified
Comments/ specify:

Operations such as precise and direct placement of inputs and minimum tillage have simplified land management

Income and costs

expenses on agricultural inputs

increased
decreased
Comments/ specify:

Expenses on inputs, such as herbicides and fertilizers increased marginally, because the conventional farming practice had been characterized by low inputs; however, with improved soil organic matter, soil structure and nutrient status, as well as reduced incidences of pest, diseases and weeds, it is expected that the use of these inputs will diminish over time

farm income

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

Increased crop production means, more surplus and incomes

diversity of income sources

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

Diversified cropping enables the farmers to get income from maize, common bean, soybean and cowpea production

workload

increased
decreased
Comments/ specify:

Reduced tillage has subsequently decreased the farmers' workload because they no longer have to plough the entire field

Socio-cultural impacts

food security/ self-sufficiency

reduced
improved
Comments/ specify:

Increased crop production means more food and less hungry periods. The legumes also provide a good source of protein to the farmers' households

community institutions

weakened
strengthened
Comments/ specify:

The common interest groups have been greatly involved in the selection of the CA technologies. The strengthening of the community institutions has been done for sustainability and to allow sensitization of the technology to the wider population in the landscape. Some of thaccess by the communities. e promotion approaches have been on-farm demonstrations and training of trainers (ToTs), which have involved and empowered different farmer groups within the communities. Seed producers have also been trained to multiply seeds of specific crops, such as Mucuna pruriens for ease of access

SLM/ land degradation knowledge

reduced
improved
Comments/ specify:

On-farm demonstrations of the CA technology and the training of trainers (ToTs) have empowered different stakeholders within the communities with sufficient SLM/ land degradation knowledge

Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

surface runoff

increased
decreased
Comments/ specify:

The dense Mucuna pruriens cover crop reduces surface runoff

groundwater table/ aquifer

lowered
recharge
Comments/ specify:

There has been increase in water infiltration and soil water content because the dense Mucuna pruriens cover crop not only regulates the soil surface temperatures and evaporation, but also reduces surface runoff. This recharges the aquifer

evaporation

increased
decreased
Comments/ specify:

The dense Mucuna pruriens cover crop regulates both the soil surface temperatures and evaporation

Soil

soil moisture

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

The increase in soil water content occurs because the dense Mucuna pruriens cover crop not only regulates the soil surface temperatures and evaporation, but also reduces surface runoff

soil cover

reduced
improved
Comments/ specify:

The dense Mucuna pruriens completely covers the soil surface, and is left on the ground even after the harvesting of maize

soil loss

increased
decreased
Comments/ specify:

The dense Mucuna pruriens cover crop reduces surface runoff and exposure to wind erosion

soil accumulation

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

Accumulation of soil organic carbon has occurred because the dense cover crop has a higher net primary productivity and sheds more leaves on the ground, resulting in more inputs of detritus to the soil. Similarly, retention of the large amount of crop residues especially those obtained from the leguminous crops has increased the inputs of carbon and nitrogen to the soil.

soil crusting/ sealing

increased
reduced
Comments/ specify:

The cover crop, minimum tillage and crop residues have protected the soil from the impact of raindrops, improved the surface soil structure and aggregate stability by increasing the organic matter content in the soil and stimulated soil biological activity, making the soil resistant to crusting

soil compaction

increased
reduced
Comments/ specify:

Reduced tillage or zero tillage has minimized farm land activities, e.g, ploughing which often result in compaction of soil. Incorporation of deep rooted crops with shallow rooted crops has also helped to break the various soil layers, thus hindering compaction. In addition, accumulation of soil organic carbon has improved soil biological activities that help to reduce soil compaction, through continuous burrowing.

nutrient cycling/ recharge

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

As the dense cover crop grows, the leaves fall and decompose on the ground, enriching the soils with nitrogen and organic matter

soil organic matter/ below ground C

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

As the dense cover crop grows, the leaves fall and decompose on the ground, with organic matter additions.

Biodiversity: vegetation, animals

biomass/ above ground C

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

The dense cover crop has higher net primary productivity/ above-ground biomass C, which is left when the maize crop is harvested.

plant diversity

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

Farmers grow a mix of crops under the diverse cropping principle, which has increased plant diversity

invasive alien species

increased
reduced
Comments/ specify:

Farmers have witnessed the suppression of weeds, such as Striga hermonthica (witchweed) in plots under dense cover crop and diversified cropping.

beneficial species

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

Reduced tillage and accumulation of soil organic carbon have increased beneficial soil living organisms, such as the earthworms.

pest/ disease control

decreased
increased
Comments/ specify:

Diversified cropping through rotations has reduced the incidences of insect pests and diseases through disruption of pest and disease cycles. Specifically, farmers have noticed that the CA plots under maize - Mucuna pruriens intercrop are less affected by the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda)

Climate and disaster risk reduction

drought impacts

increased
decreased
Comments/ specify:

The maize established with Mucuna pruriens as a cover crop has remained green and healthy for long during mid-season dry spells. This implies that the CA technology also increases water infiltration and soil water content; thus, acting as insurance against drought.

emission of carbon and greenhouse gases

increased
decreased
Comments/ specify:

Reduced tillage mitigates atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions through the decrease in fossil fuel consumption and soil disturbance. Crop residues are also retained in the field and not burnt; hence, reducing emission of carbon.

6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

impact of greenhouse gases

increased
reduced

6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season increase or decrease How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature increase well
annual rainfall increase well

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought well
Biological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
epidemic diseases well
insect/ worm infestation well

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
{'template': 'raw', 'additional_translations': {}, 'key': 'Short-term returns', 'values': ['slightly positive']}
Long-term returns:

positive

How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:

slightly positive

Long-term returns:

positive

Comments:

For example, it is expected that the associated improvement in soil organic matter, soil structure and nutrient status will reduce the use of fertilizers in the long term.

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • 1-10%
Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 51-90%

6.6 Adaptation

Has the Technology been modified recently to adapt to changing conditions?

No

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
Maize established with Mucuna pruriens as a dense cover crop is not adversely affected by the fall army worm (Spodoptera frugiperda)
Reduced tillage saves time, money and energy, while the direct placement of inputs (seeds and fertilizers) minimizes wastage. The saved resources can be used to engage in other income-generating activities
Maize established with Mucuna pruriens as a dense cover crop remains green and healthy for long during mid-season dry spells
Weeds, such as Striga hermonthica (witchweed) are suppressed in plots under dense cover crop and diversified cropping (rotations and inter-crops)
In seasons of excessive rainfall, the maize intercropped with the common bean is usually harvested even when the common bean fails
The CA technology has boosted maize yields, meaning more food and income, and reduced cost of feeding the family
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
The CA plots with Mucuna pruriens as a dense cover crop have improved soil organic matter, soil structure and nutrient status
Reduced tillage has enhanced soil living organisms, such as earthworms and decreased fuel consumption and soil disturbance; hence, mitigating atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions and storing carbon in soils
The CA technology has increased water infiltration and soil water content (moisture); thus, acting as insurance against drought
Diversified cropping through rotations has reduced the incidences of insect pests and diseases, as well as the risk of crop failure during extreme weather conditions and pest infestations

6.8 Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks of the Technology and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the land user’s view How can they be overcome?
The Mucuna pruriens used as a dense cover crop intertwines on maize crop, which might increase manual labour Promote other erect cover crops like the lablab bean (Dolichos lablab), Desmodium and Canavalia that will have less effect on the cereal crop established
The yields of Mucuna pruriens used as a dense cover crop are not edible - Extension agents and Trainer of Trainees (ToTs) to equip farmers with knowledge on the options available for utilizing Mucuna pruriens yields other than being a cover crop
- Promote other erect cover crops like the lablab bean (Dolichos lablab), Desmodium and Canavalia
Residue retention reduces the availability of fodder and fuel materials Adopt an agro-forestry system with tree species that can provide alternative source of fodder and fuel
The critical CA inputs and implements, such as the jab planters, weed scrapers, herbicides and Mucuna seeds are hard to access - Incentivize and train the local fabricators to fabricate affordable CA tools
- Subsidize CA inputs, such as fertilizer and herbicides
- Facilitate access to credit
- Train more seed producers to multiply the seeds of Mucuna pruriens
Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Agro-ecosystem contamination through use of herbicides and inorganic fertilizers Use the right doses of herbicides and fertilizers

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users
  • interviews with SLM specialists/ experts
When were the data compiled (in the field)?

31/05/2020

7.4 General comments

Simple and clear.

Links and modules

Expand all Collapse all

Modules