Conservation agriculture in South Asia

Hafeez ur-Rehman*, Ahmad Nawaz, Abdul Wakeel, Yashpal Singh Saharawat, Muhammad Farooq

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

14 Citations (Scopus)


Conventional agriculture has put forth soil and crop sustainability to substantial soil degradation resulting in a concomitant decrease in the productivity of these systems. Conservation agriculture (CA) including minimum soil disturbance, permanent soil cover, and diversified crop rotations aimed to decrease and/or revert the effects of conventional farming practices like soil organic matter decline, soil erosion, soil physical degradation, and fuel use. However, in South Asia, the area under CA is very small compared to the rest of the world. The history of CA in South Asia starts when wheat plantation with zero tillage was first introduced in Indian and Pakistani Punjab in the 1980s. Currently, conservation tillage is being practiced on more than 5 M ha in Indo-Gangetic plains of South Asia. Conservation tillage reduced greenhouse gas emission and the production cost, and improved the soil health and crop yields. However, challenges like cultural and economic entrenchment of tillage agriculture in this region, weeds, insect pests, diseases, crop residue management, and reduced availability of suitable seeding and planting equipment are hindering its uptake. In this scenario, problem-oriented research and training, provision of conservation machinery at specific sites at proper time at affordable rates, and aggressive extension campaigns may help to boost up the uptake of CA in South Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConservation Agriculture
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9783319116204
ISBN (Print)9783319116198
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Crop residues
  • Indo-Gangetic plains
  • Mind-set
  • Production costs
  • Zero tillage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Environmental Science


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