Forest management conservation agriculture: experiences of smallholder farmers in the Eastern region of Paraguay - Integrated crop management 15 (Paperback)Paul Borsy (author), Food and Agriculture Organization (author), Rafael Gadea (author)
Paperback 206 Pages / Published: 30/10/2013
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This book is a richly detailed account of a forestry, agroforestry and Conservation Agriculture (CA) project for smallholder farmers in eastern Paraguay. Initiated in 2003 it now supports some 17 000 smallholder farm families. The project channels financial resources to farmers organized in committees to enable them to acquire inputs (including machinery) for CA, native forest management, reforestation and agroforestry as a means of diversification, long-term income and natural resource conservation. Implementation has not been without some teething problems and these are examined in detail in order to avoid or minimize them in future, similar projects. Farmers were organized into associations, or committees, in order to better plan, receive technical assistance and financial incentives, gain access to credit, and buy and sell inputs and farm products on advantageous terms. The basic concept was to consider the farmer as a business person and to smooth the path from individual production towards the formation of profitable strategic alliances. The CA practices promoted, (and adopted) include the selection and performance of green manure cover crops (GMCCs). Both research station results and many on-farm case studies show the value of leguminous and other GMCCs in weed control and yield increases. Details are given of their performance, management, advantages and disadvantages. The use of tools and machinery has contributed greatly to the development of family agriculture. Implements adopted include: subsoilers, knife rollers, lime-spreaders, direct planters. Other inputs include lime, fertilizers and herbicides. Mono-cropping is one of the main reasons for disease build up in smallholder farms and rotations are a basic pillar of CA. The rotations established by the project are based on maize production and crops that farmers consider to be their important cash crops; these are associated with summer and winter GMCCs. Finally, some farmers' committees asked for orientation on organic CA and so this aspect was included in the technical assistance package. The association of animal production with CA crop production is an interesting proposition for the family farm as a source of both improved family nutrition and income earning potential. The synergies between CA production with animal feeding is discussed as is the integration of small livestock and cattle into the farming system.
Publisher: Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Number of pages: 206
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