Abandonment of conservation agriculture by smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe

Tarisayi Pedzisa, Lovemore Rugube, Alex Winter-Nelson, Kathy Baylis, Kizito Mazvimavi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines the determinants of abandonment of conservation agriculture (CA) techniques among smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe. The analysis uses four rounds of a balanced panel from a survey aimed at monitoring CA adoption among farmers who participated in CA promotion projects. Findings indicate that a large share of farmers who had adopted CA during the period of active promotion eventually abandoned the practice in the absence of support from non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Households with more farming experience, bigger household sizes and a greater number of cultivated plots were less likely to stop using CA. In turn, wealthy households and farmers in the drier areas were more likely to stop using CA. The finding that persistent adoption is more prevalent among the poor, supports claims that CA is a pro-poor technology. Lastly, we find a strong, negative and robust relationship between continued NGO support and abandonment of CA. This finding suggests that improved support institutions are necessary to ensure that farmers continue to use CA as a productivity-boosting and sustainable farming method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-82
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Sustainable Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


  • Abandonment
  • Conservation agriculture
  • Probit
  • Technology adoption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Development
  • Environmental Science(all)


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