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Minimum/zero tillage is desirable as it cuts down on the fuel cost and reduce GHGs emissions by 48% per year. Helps maintain soil structure.



Fossil fuel are the largest contributors of greenhouse gases (GHGs) especially carbon dioxide. Recent studies by crop and soil scientists show that changes in land use practices can also help reduce levels of GHGs. On- farm burning of crop residues emits gases like sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane among other gases. These gases affect the global atmospheric chemistry and climate. Consequently they pose negative effects on human health. Agriculture can serve as an important climate change mitigation strategy (Smith et. al, 2013) both by reducing GHGs emissions to the atmosphere and by sequestering atmospheric carbon into plant biomass. Conservation agriculture principles have been reported to increase agricultural productivity while enhancing input efficiency and eventually reducing the GHGs emissions (Chouhan et. al, 2003). The proposal seeks to embrace two principles of conservation agriculture; 1) Minimum/zero tillage, 2) Use of crop residue as soil cover. The integration of these two technologies envisions to bring about sustainability in terms of high crop yields as well as contribute to greatly reduce on the GHGs emissions.

Conventional agriculture proves to be expensive in both magnitude and time. Time taken in land preparation where mechanization is employed can eventually delay planting and other agronomic practices. The fuel costs are as well spiraling up making it not affordable to small holder farmers. Minimum/zero tillage on the other hand save land preparation costs by US $ 50 and diesel consumption rate by 50-60 l ha-1(Dodywadia and Sharma, 2012). On-farm burning of crop residues is intensifying in the recent years. Both conventional tillage and on-farm burning of crop residues result in greenhouse gases emissions.

Is this proposal for a practice or a project?


What actions do you propose?

To minimize on the use of mechanization in land preparation and subsequent cropping practices, the adoption of minimum/ zero tillage is recommended. 200 farmers from Mambasa sub location in Kilifi county shall be identified to practice conservation agriculture. These farmers will be subjected to a comprehensive training on the principles of conservation agriculture with more emphasis on minimum/zero tillage as well as use of crop residues as mulch rather than on-farm burning.

Land preparations will be done by use of hand hoes, pangas and hand pulling of weeds. Greengrams intercropped with sorghum shall be planted using jab planters and planting sticks. Weeding shall be done by use of shallow weeders. Crops will be monitored to control pests and diseases. After harvesting, the crop residues shall be spread evenly on the farm for decomposition. These actions shall be repeated every season and therefore there will be build up of organic matter season after season. This will guarantee increased crop yields as cropping seasons pass by.

For sustainability, the project intends to upscale on the use of this technology by recruiting more farmers into the system after every two cropping seasons. The adoption of minimum/ zero tillage and conservation agriculture in totality by a huge number of farmers will contribute to reduction of GHGs emissions to the atmosphere that result to climate change.

Who will take these actions?

The mobilization of the farmers will be done by chiefs, assistant chiefs, religious leaders and the village elders.  Identification of the beneficiaries will be done by the project officers with help from the local administrators. Training of the farmers on conservation agriculture as well as the agronomic practices of the crops of concern will be done by county agricultural field officers. Supply of quality and certified seeds will be done by the recommended seed stockiest in Kenya. Distribution of seeds to farmers will be supervised by the project officers. Land preparation under conservation agriculture will be done by the identified farmers. Monitoring of the crop will be done by the project officers in conjunction with the county agricultural field officers who will advise farmers accordingly to ensure a healthy crop. Harvesting and subsequent spreading of crop residues evenly on the farms shall be done by the farmers with close supervision by project officers.

Where will these actions be taken?

This project will take place in Kilifi county in Kenya. The proposed actions will take place on the farmers fields of 200 selected participants in Mambasa sub location in Marafa location.

In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.


Country 2

No country selected

Country 3

No country selected

Country 4

No country selected

Country 5

No country selected


What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

It is known that the climate is also being influenced by GHG emissions from the agricultural sector, which is responsible for an estimated 10–12% of total GHG emissions (Smith et al 2007). Consequently, this sector holds significant climate change mitigation potential through the reductions of the major greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (CO2, N2 O and CH4) as well as the sequestration of carbon in agricultural landscapes. Minimum/Zero tillage will cut down on emission of GHGs by at the rate of 48% per year (Wang, 2012).

What are other key benefits?

It is expected that sharning away from the use of tractors and other implements in farming will to a great extend reduce on noise and air pollution. This will contribute to safe environment which guarantees healthy people. Increased yields from the crops of concern in this project will translate to high profits and eventually improved living standards of villagers in Kilifi county. The consumption of these crops produce will mean a boost in the nutritional status of the community members who will have energy to engage in other economic activities. This virtue will contribute positively on the Kenya’s GDP.

Farming activities are done mostly by women among the Mijikenda community who are the main residents of Kilifi county. It is expected that after the economic status of the people in this area has increased as a result of increased yields, less time will be spent by the women to tend other peoples land in order to meet their expenditures. This extra time saved can be directed to other recreational activities and this aspect contribute towards gender equality.


What are the proposal’s projected costs?

Projected cost= USD 60,000

Major challenge in the implementation of this project might be experienced during the identification of farmers who will adopt the minimum/zero tillage technology together with the no on-farm burning of crop residues. This is because conventional way of farm operations has always been practiced in this region


It is expected that after adoption of this technology there will be reduction of GHGs emissions within the first years of the implementation of the project.

There will be buildup of organic matter of up to 4cm thickness within three years after the implementation of the project. This will continue to raise over years and therefore lead to increased crop yields season after season.

As part of medium term benefits is the fact that the build up of organic matter after 15 years will have grown to a great height and soil fertility replenishment will be at high rate. Crop productivity per unit area will very high. Dependancy on charcoal burning as a livelihood activity in Magarini sub county will greately reduce and therefore reduced intensity of tree felling. This means that increased carbon sequestration which greately reduce on the bimpact of  the GHGs emissions on the ozone layer.

As a long term impact, the adoption of this technology and practice will contribute to reduced global warming and hence less dangers like risks of skin cancer and prolonged drought will befall the generations to come.

About the author(s)

Janet Ogega    Project officer   Carita Malindi  Kenya

Martin Karigu   Director caritas Malindi Kenya

Alex Kiseli    Assistant director Caritas Malindi Kenya

Patrick Wambua Project officer Caritas Malindi Kenya


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Chouhan, D.S., R.K. Sharma, R.S. Chhokar (2003). New  paradigms in tillage technology for wheat production. Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 73 (2003), pp. 402-406

Dodwadiya, K. S.,  A.R. Sharma Effect of tillage and method of sowing on performance of greengram (Vigna radiata) varieties during summer and rainy seasons. Indian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 82 (5) (2012), pp. 462-465

Smith P., Haberl H., Popp A., Erb K.-H., Lauk C., Harper R., Tubiello F., de Siqueira Pinto A., Jafari M., Sohi S., Masera O., Böttcher H., Berndes G., Bustamante M., Ahammad H., Clark H., Dong H.M., Elsiddig E.A., Mbow C., Ravindranath N.H., Rice C.W., Robledo Abad C., Romanovskaya A., Sperling F., Herrero M., House J.I., Rose S. How much land based greenhouse gas mitigation can be achieved without compromising food security and environmental goals? GCB Bioenergy. 2013;19:2285–2302.

Wang, J. Y. (2012). Why farmers in Lishue can withjdraw cash from pos machines. Chinese Economic Times.