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VOLUME 2 ISSUE 2 2012


The science of farming has moved toward more sparing and efficient use of land, water, and energy. One example is conservation agricul- ture, a decades-old practice that


is producing benefits for the environment and profits for large-scale farmers in some countries. Conservation agriculture is an important focus of CGIAR’s Cereal Systems Initiative in South Asia (CSISA). For small- scale farmers in South Asia and elsewhere, conserva- tion agriculture, and complementary activities such as laser land leveling and agroforestry, could be an environmental and economic boon, but the hurdles to adoption are still high. This is where IFPRI researchers come in: they are looking not at the science, but at the economics of conservation agriculture, and proposing ways to make more sustainable farming economically viable even for poor, small-scale farmers. The feature article in this issue of Insights explains how.


We welcome your comments on this article as well as the many others describing IFPRI’s current work.


Shenggen Fan, Director General


EDITOR Heidi Fritschel ART DIRECTOR Julia Vivalo


STAFF WRITERS Cindy Cox, Yassir Islam, Marcia MacNeil, Andrea Pedolsky, Ashley St. Tomas, Susan Buzzelli Tonassi


CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ian Johnson, Jennifer Weeks, Justine Williams, S. D. Williams STAFF DESIGNER Carolyn Hallowell


EMAIL IFPRI-Insights@cgiar.org INSIGHTS ONLINE http://insights.ifpri.info IFPRI ONLINE www.ifpri.org


The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) was established in 1975 to identify and analyze national and international strategies and policies for meeting the food needs of the developing world on a sustainable basis, with particular emphasis on low-income countries and on the poorer groups in those countries. IFPRI is a member of the CGIAR Consortium.


Copyright © 2012 International Food Policy Research Insti- tute. All rights reserved. For permission to republish contact ifpri-copyright@cgiar.org.


RAJASTHAN, INDIA


After collecting water from under- ground rainwater harvesting tanks,


women begin the walk home. © 2012 D. Telemans/Panos


COVER PHOTO: Beans in crop rotation on a conservation agriculture trial plot in El Batán, Mexico. Crop rotation is one of the key principles of conservation agriculture. © 2009 CIMMYT


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