The Intensity of adoption 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 article assesses the intensity of technology adoption of conservation agriculture (CA) techniques by smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe. It seeks to understand the drivers of CA adoption intensity in terms of the number of practices implemented using count data analysis. On average, the farmers in our sample adopt five out of eight possible CA practices while only 7.4% use all eight practices in any one year. Practices such as digging planting basins (81.9%), applying manure (73.2%) and timely post-planting weeding (70.1%) are relatively popular, while adoption of crop rotation (22.8%) is comparatively rare. Productivity is positively correlated to the number of techniques used. Farmers adopting all the CA practices are the most productive, with an estimated maize yield of 2.50 tons/ha, compared with a yield of less than 1 tons/ha for those using three techniques or fewer. Results from a Poisson regression indicate that education, agro-ecology, non-governmental input support and extension support have a significant impact on adoption intensity. Subsidised inputs increase the number of components used, although access to those inputs was uneven across regions of Zimbabwe. Further, the number of CA components used in the previous season positively impacts current season adoption intensity, implying that promotions of CA technologies do have a persistent effect, even after those promotions end.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2015


  • adoption intensity
  • conservation agriculture
  • count regression
  • smallholder farmer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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