Participatory systems research on conservation agriculture in the Mpumalanga Highveld region

This project is funded by the Maize Trust and implemented by ASSET Research in collaboration with Mpumalamga CA network.

Mpumalanga Highveld

This project assists to research, develop and adapt CA systems with the participation of local producers in the Mpumalanga Highveld region. The Mpumalanga Highveld is seen as a key high potential crop production region and have very suitable conditions (soil and climate) to practice CA. The negative impact of tillage-based cropping systems, together with rising concerns about climate change, coal-mining and poor grazing practices, pose a major threat to the natural resources and sustained productivity of the Grassland biome on the Mpumalanga Highveld. Consequently, to stop and reverse (restore) the downward spiral of environmental degradation, this region has been identified by the CA Farmer Innovation Programme (CA FIP) as a key target or study area to research and adapt CA with local farmers in order to improve their sustainability and profitability.

The following short-term objectives will assist the project in achieving its aim:

  1. To establish and facilitate appropriate on-farm trials with the Mpumalanga Highveld CA network
  2. To monitor and analyse a series of appropriate indicators from on-farm trials on selected farmers’ fields
  3. To create wider awareness and innovation capacity in the Mpumalanga CA network and the broader farming communities on the practices and benefits of locally adapted CA systems.
  4. To support project facilitation, administration and reporting processes.

In order to effectively implement the above short-term objectives, a couple of cross-cutting work packages were designed with each having a designated person or institution to implement and manage the specific activities and budget.

The objectives of on-farm trials as applied in this project are to improve experiential learning, improve understanding and adaptation of technologies to local farmers and conditions, increase awareness among farming communities and facilitate farmer-to-farmer extension.