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Modeling impact of Conservation Agriculture adoption on farming systems agricultural incomes. The case of lake Alaotra Region, Madagascar

Penot E., McDowan C., Domas R., Poletti S.. 2012. In : IFSA. Producing and reproducing farming systems. New modes of organisation for sustainable food systems of tomorrow : 10th European IFSA Symposium, July 1-4, 2012, Aarhus, Denmark. Vienne : IFSA, 9 p.. European IFSA Symposium. 10, 2012-07-01/2012-07-04, Aarhus (Danemark).

Conservation Agriculture (CA) was introduced at the lake Alaotra, in Madagascar, in the 2000's in a context of traditionnal mining upland agriculture and silting-up of lowlands rice fields. Land tenure pressure linked to the attractiveness of the area leads to the progressive colonization of surrounding upland hills, very sensitive to erosion. Conservation agriculture tackle with a double challenges: i) maintain and/or increase household income and ii) preserve natural resources trough sustainable agricultural practices in the long term. This paper assesses the economic impact of CA adoption on farmers's income trough modelling representative farms selected according to a local typology based on the last 5 years with a prospective analysis for the next 5 yers. The Project Field Database highlighted a light increase of yield according to the age of CA systems. A buffering effect on climate hazards has been as well identified trough production stability over the years leading to adoption as part of a risk limiting strategy. Elements of the CA techniques are adopted spontaneously within surrounding farming systems leading to improvment of conventionnal tillage based systems. Smallholder's agricultutural practices evolution displays a high capacity for innovation. Modeling with a dedidated tool (budget analysis oriented with a step by step approach) has highlighted that CA systems improve significantly net farm income at plot scale in the midterm (5 to 10 years). For farm holdings with few irrigated rice fields, mainly relying on upland agriculture, CA systems increase farming systems resilience to climatic events and price volatility as well as sustainable agricultural practices maintaining local and fragile ressources.

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