8. The sustainability of the impact of the integrated rural development programme (IRDP) Zambia/nw-province.
A Publ. of the Centre for Advanced Training in Agricultural Development, TU, Berlin; Nr. 116; 1988, 257 + annexes
The traditional farming system practised in Kabompo and in Zambezi Districts is described as the "Luvale System" of semi-permanent hoe and ox-plough cultivation. The staple crop is cassava. Traditionally the farmers prefer to clear virgin bush for the cultivation of new cassava fields, except in areas of increasing land pressure. The clearing is mainly carried out between March and June. The trees and shrubs are stacked in piles ready for burning in October. Cassava is either grown on the flat, on ridges or on mounds. During the first year of cultivation it is intercropped with groundnuts, sweet potatoes, beans, local maize, calabashes, cucumbers, water melons, pumpkins and rosella.
Cassava can be harvested after the first year, but it usually remains in the ground for at least two or three years, sometimes even longer.
Generally the cassava plant is easy to cultivate. In recent years, however, its cultivation has become more and more difficult in some areas, due to the cassava mealy bug (Phenacoccus manihot) which has spread into the project region. The population of mealy bugs is continuing to increase causing serious damage leading to problems in securing cuttings for the planting season.
The sorghum based farming system called "Kaonde-system" is found in Chizela District. It is a shifting cultivation system based on a sorghum-field, called "bujimi" in Kikaonde.
After clearing the bush at the beginning and the burning at the end of the dry season the "bujimi" is cultivated. The dominant crop is sorghum.
Minor intercrops include maize and pumpkins, grown by a majority of the farmers, and to a lesser extent beans, water-melons and cucumbers. On some "bujimi" there are also patches where finger-millet and sweet sorghum are grown. The field is entirely cultivated for three to six years, before it is again abandoned. There is no crop rotation during the years in which it is cultivated. Some minor intercrops such as beans and cucumbers, however, are often no longer cultivated on the older fields.
In addition, there are other small separate fields of groundnuts and sweet potatoes. Usually, grass fallows are used for these fields. The grasses are hoed up into mounds on which the crops are planted. Often these fields are only used one year.
In the cassava based shifting cultivation system, maize is usually grown after several cycles of cassava or on cleared secondary bush. The cash-crop fields tend to be close to the village. Maize is cropped continuously or sometimes rotated with sunflower or groundnuts. Little consideration appears to be given to planting maize on new land in the belief that the fertilizer will restore the fertility of the cassava lands. Six years after this survey, however, the question arises whether these findings still reflect the reality.
The high participation rate and the increase of the cash-crop production is one of the achievements of the programme. But the high percentage of maize cultivation suggests a high degree of maize monocropping.
If the farmers are monocropping pure stand maize on the same fields for several years, the sustainability of the programme is endangered. Maize monocropping leads to the deterioration of the soils in the long run and to a rapid decrease in yields. Due to the inpact of these risks they are discussed in detail in this paper.
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Traditional land-use systems
Pacific, Solomon Islands, case study, indigenous knowledge, soil use, plant productivity, CTA, IBSRAM
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