Conservation agriculture (CA) is a farming system that is based on three principles. (1)
Minimum soil disturbance; (2) maintaining a soil cover through mulching with crop residues or
planting cover crops; and (3) practicing crop rotation. CA is practiced in many parts of the world
for its multiple benefits such as soil and water conservation and the ability to increase economic
benefits. CA practice contributes towards combating land degradation, reducing poverty, and
improving food security.
CA has been a profitable and sustainable farming system in many parts of the Americas and
Australia where it has been practiced for many decades. However, adoption of CA in Africa has
been very slow. Efforts to understand the low and slow adoption of CA in Sub-Saharan Africa is
controversy-laden, because the arguments for and against CA are polarised. One of the tensions
stems from the definition of CA that remains nearly undebatable (Giller et al., 2015a). This goes
on further to questions on research quality and the methodologies employed in CA studies when
assessing adoption in Africa (Glover et al., 2016). The second argument has to do with the
appropriateness of CA across Sub-Saharan Africa (Stevenson et al., 2014a, Stevenson et al., 2014b).