The promotion of conservation agriculture in the North-Eastern Free State
The north-eastern Free State Province has been identified by Grain SA as a suitable target area to promote CA among farmers in order to improve their sustainability and profitability. The Grain SA CA Farmer Innovation Programme has engaged two active study groups, namely Ascent (Vrede area) and Riemland (Reitz area) serving as platforms to launch activities in these two study areas. Each of these two regions constitute fairly homogeneous agro-ecological conditions, which will facilitate the scaling out of CA practices from the representative project sites and trials on selected (or volunteering) farmers’ fields. The study groups have been engaged in various planning and implementation activities since the 2015/16 season, which have all been included in various work packages serving as a framework for project implementation.
The aim of the project is:
To promote conservation agriculture in key grain producing areas of the north-eastern Free State through a farmer-centred innovation process.
The following short-term objectives will assist the project in achieving its aim:
- To establish and facilitate on-farm trials around two local farmer structures (i.e. the Ascent and Riemland study groups)
- To monitor and analyse a series of on-farm, farmer-led trials on selected farmers’ fields
- To create wider awareness and innovation capacity in local farming communities on the practices and benefits of locally adapted CA systems.
- To support farmer facilitation, administration and reporting processes.