Case study: Shifting to conservation agriculture to build resilience to climate change

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Case study: Shifting to conservation agriculture to build resilience to climate change

©IFAD/Susan Beccio

Cristian Hancu is one of the owners of a table grape plantation in Tintareni, Anenii Noi district, Moldova. The grapes will be placed in cold-storage buildings and released on the national and export market off-season to increase their market value.

Country: Moldova

Background: Being a small landlocked country, characterized by 80% of undulating topography and four-fifths of land covered by fertile chernozem soil (a very fertile black-colored soil containing a high percentage of humus which produces high agricultural yields), Moldova has agriculture as its key economic sector. At the same time, the national economy and rural livelihoods are inherently highly vulnerable to climate change related events.

Because of a series of severe and devastating climate-related events, IFAD’s Rural Financial Services and Agribusiness Development Project facilitated the development of demonstration plots for conservation agriculture (CA).

SSTC Solution:

Within the Rural Financial Services and Agribusiness Development Project, a series of South-South learning activities have been undertaken in order to explore the potential switch from conventional farming to conservation agriculture. Such activities included:

  • The participation of key resource persons (the farm managers of the Demo plots) and of Moldovan practitioners to an international conference and a training course in Ukraine.
  • Provision of hands-on technical assistance to the demo plots;
  • Selection of four local experts (soil science, agro- technology, economics, mechanization) to form a group to support the sub-component implementation;
  • Organization of a training seminar for students and teaching staff of the university (125 participants);
  • Organization of seminars at each demonstration plot (attended by a total of 75 producers);
  • Procurement of equipment and machinery for the demonstration plots (mainly seeding machines and tractors), which were subsidised 50 per cent by the project up to USD 50,000 for each plot;
  • Practical technical support for the demonstration plots, provided under the USAID-supported “Farmer- to-Farmer Programme”.

Results:

  • In the period 2012 – 2013, 26 new farmers converted their production systems to conservation agriculture;
  • Diversification of crops which reduced farmers’ dependence on monocultures that are more sensitive to climate change;
  • Over 600 farmers have got practical training in 2013 on established Demo plots;
  • This solution triggered an increase of the area under CA from 40.000 ha to 70.000 ha.