An Investment and Development Model For Zero Tillage in the Rain-fed Sub-sector of Sudan

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Abdulrazak, Nashwan Abdulwahab
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The overall objective of this study is to review and evaluate the socioeconomic impact of AAAID project of introducing zero tillage (ZT) farming system to Sudan and to formulate an appropriate investment and developmental model for crop production in the rain-fed sector with various levels of application. Methodology used includes descriptive statistics, cost-benefit analysis and socio-economic evaluation of the farming system. A simulation model was designed for implementation, institutionalization and dissemination of the system. The Study reviewed AAAID experience in introducing, adopting and disseminating ZT. It analyzed the technical, economical and social impacts of the new system, as practiced in ASBNACo, and in the fields of farmers. Primary data were collected through a field survey covering 38 farmers who applied ZT in Agadi and secondary data from literature review, ASBNACo records, and AAAID records, in addition to the researcher’s contribution in the developmental and research programs of AAAID. There was an intensive well organized program since 2000, by AAAID, to introduce ZT to Sudan. The phases of development are described in this study. There are many possible levels of applying ZT according to the area planted, agro-ecological zone, and the financial capabilities of the farmers. There are some limitations and reservations about the adoption of ZT mainly related to cost, managerial skills, soil compaction, chemicals usage and environmental affects. Most of these concerns can be overcome by the knowledge gained from world experience and the process of adoption in Agadi and AlGadaref. All these efforts should not ignore the definite need for conducting further investigations and research related to these topics, as ZT will continue to be in a dynamic state of change. The yield of sorghum using ZT in Agadi was between 724 and 1336 kgs/feddan against 150 to 300 kgs/fed using the mechanized traditional system. This has been the main encouragement for the farmers to adopt ZT. The study showed that in Agadi, the average cost of one feddan producing sorghum under mechanized traditional system was about US$ 25 and making a net profit of about US$ 25 against about US$ 88 and about US$ 132 under ZT respectively. In Doka, AlGadaref the average cost of one feddan producing sorghum under the mechanized traditional farming was about US$ 36 and its net profit was about US$ 24 against about US$ 94 and about US$ 186 under ZT respectively. For sesame the net profit from one feddan increased from about US$ 49 under mechanized traditional system to about US$ 67 under ZT. The allied programs such as precision farming, training of new graduates, and applied research enhanced the ZT in the project area and in the farmers \\\\\\\' fields. Local community of Agadi benefited more from AAAID and ASBNACo developmental activities during the last few years such as: The new road, schools, health center, mosque, electricity, clean water, job opportunities, and social support programs. The main recommendations of the study are: 1. Adopting ZT as an investment and developmental model for crop production in the rain-fed sector according to the local conditions. 2. The model should be adopted as a full technological package comprising six phases vis.: a. Research. b. Institutionalization. c. Capacity Building. d. Transfer of Technology. e. Piloting and Commercial Application. f. Socio-Economic Studies. Each phase has its required components and recommended executing agencies. 3. Establishing a specialized training center. 4. Establishing a \\\\\\\"Zero Tillage Farmers Association of Sudan: ZTFAS\\\\\\\". 5. Practicing other income generating activities by farmers such as: livestock and Gum Arabic production. 6. Promoting ZT by the State by including it in its new declared agricultural policy (Green mobilization “NAFRA”). 7. Establishing appropriate credit programs to support adopting ZT. 8. Contribution of a"net work" of various agencies including national research centers, universities, media, extension agencies, local and federal governments, farmer associations, marketing agencies, NGOs, agricultural banks and manufacturers of machinery and inputs. 9. Conducting further investigations and research related to the environmental impact, and reducing the costs of the new system (ZT).
September 2006
Zero Tillage