Farmers, research and extension have been developing and testing moisture conserving tillage/weeding practices for a maize-based cropping system in semi-arid Zimbabwe which is characterised by labour and draught animal power (DAP) shortages, frequent drought and at times excessive weed growth. Using a ripper tine attached to the existing plough for planting, and weeding with the plough, practices selected by farmers from on-farm trials during this participatory exercise, are expected to benefit households who have access to DAP and labour. Some 35% of households, however, own no DAP or implements, experience severe labour constraints, generally plant late, achieve low yields, rarely produce a saleable surplus and are cash constrained. Although these households may benefit from more timely availability of hired DAP for planting, when DAP owners complete their own planting more quickly by the minimum tillage/planting technique, they are unlikely to relieve their weeding constraint by use the labour saving weeding technology, as this would incur further hire costs for DAP.
Rural Livelihoods, empowerment andthe environment: Going Beyond the Farm Boundary. 15th International Symposium of theAssociation for Farming Systems Research-Extension, 29 November to 4 December 1998, Pretoria, South Africa. Volume 3, 1480-1488.