Contour Farming Based on Natural Vegetative Strips: Expanding the Scope for Increased Food Crop Production on Sloping Lands in Asia
Author: Garrity D.P.
Source: Environment, Development and Sustainability, Volume 1, Numbers 3-4, 1999 , pp. 323-336(14)
In the agriculture of the future, there is a compelling place for agroecologically-based practices alongside practices based on the best available chemical, genetic, and engineering components. This paper explores this issue in the context of the development and spread of a conservation farming system based on natural vegetative contour buffer strips in smallholder production systems in southeast Asia. Farmers adapted contour hedgerow farming practices into a simpler, buffer-strip system as a labor-saving measure to conserve soil and sustain yields on steeply sloping cropland in Claveria, Mindanao, Philippines. Permanent-ridge tillage systems were also adapted to smallholder farming systems by researchers. Natural vegetative buffer strips resulted in gradually increasing yields, with an estimated benefit of 0.5 t/ha/crop. They were seen to increase land values, facilitate investment in more intensive and profitable cropping systems, and expand the land base for food crop agriculture. They induced an institutional innovation of farmer-led Landcare organizations, which have spread this and other agroforestry practices to thousands of households in the southern Philippines.
Document Type: Regular paper
Affiliations: 1: International Centre for Research in Agroforestry, Southeast Asian Regional Programme, Jl Cifor, Sindanbarang, Situgede, PO Box 161, Bogor, Indonesia (e-mail: email@example.com fax: 62 251 625416)
Publication date: 1999-01-01