The Choices of the Strandend: Conservation Farming and Biochar in Zambia
Conservation farming is currently being implemented in Zambia. This process however, is not clear-cut and cannot be assessed by a simple cost-benefit analysis. Ultimately, the individual farmers make or break the programme as they decide whether or not to adopt conservation methods. They make these choices out of their own understanding of their lives and the conservation programme that is offered to them. In many ways, as I will show in this thesis, the farmers perceive of themselves as stranded, limited in their possibilities to sustain a livelihood for themselves and their families. In this, they often rely on their own strength and the crops they grow themselves. It is within this context that they choose what path best to follow and whether or not they are capable of going down that path. And this is also the viewpoint from which they interpret new agricultural policies and opportunities, like conservation farming, as beneficial or not and as attainable or not. Therefore, the implementation of conservation farming is murkier than an cost-benefit analysis would have it and its success largely relies on the choices of the stranded.