Zambia

Conservation agriculture for climate change adaptation in Zambia: A cost-benefit analysis (October 2020)

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Analysis
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This case study was carried out under the Integrating Agricultural Sectors into National Adaptation Plans programme (NAP-Ag) with the aim of generating empirical evidence about adaptation options in agriculture and to inform adaptation policy dialogues in Zambia. The study uses a cost-benefit analysis to analyse the financial and economic worthiness of conservation agriculture practices using primary data from a survey of a sample of 18,183 households targeted by the Conservation Agriculture Scaling-up Project in Zambia.

Highlights

  • This study was carried out under the Integrating Agricultural Sectors into National Adaptation Plans programme (NAP-Ag) with the aim of generating empirical evidence about adaptation options in agriculture and to inform adaptation policy dialogues in Zambia.

  • The study uses a cost-benefit analysis to analyse the financial and economic worthiness of conservation agriculture (CA) practices using primary data from a survey of a sample of 18 183 households (HH) targeted by the Conservation Agriculture Scaling-up (CASU) Project in Zambia.

  • Results suggest that if a farmer switches from conventional farming to CA, annual net income from agricultural production would increase from USD 217 to 351, a 62 percent increase.

  • In the first three years of switching from conventional to CA implementation, there are negative incremental net benefits. This is due to the transition period needed for CA benefits on crop yields to become effective. While farmers begin to see benefits in the fourth year, they will incur investment costs in the beginning. This causes a low proportion of farmers to adopt CA.

  • Negative income recorded in the first years of CA implementation is an adoption barrier, even with the provision of input packages and vouchers. The econometric analysis confirms that low asset (including land and income) levels, limited family size, and opportunity cost of labour present barriers to the adoption of CA technology.

  • Ad-hoc policy measures beyond the voucher system should be introduced to facilitate the transition from conventional farming and promote adaptation to increased climate change.