Program Summary
TIST Origins
TIST Goals & Objectives
Small Group Payments
Monitoring & Measurement
TIST Management
Program Model
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GHG offsets created by TIST Small Groups can now be purchased on ebay


Conservation Farming

Smallholder farmers receive training and monthly newsletters that communicate about the project, share learned “best practices” on farming, and encourage tree planting and forest preservations.



CF Crops

Non CF Crops


Rural farmers receive training on new soil preparation and planting techniques, weeding, storage. Future programs development may also focus on marketing and improved business management of smallholder farms.

TIST’s approach to conservation farming is based on the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization’s handbook on conservation farming that was developed in neighbouring Zambia . Conservation farming practices include:

  • Tighter spacing of planting

  • Use of holes rather than rows for water conservation

  • Improved weeding

  • Use of compost or manure for fertilization

When combined with the improved seed (including drought resistant seed) food yield could increase four-fold on existing farmland. Participants are encouraged to diversify crop selection.

The aim underlying conservation farming is to stabilize food supply in the area on existing farmland. Recent droughts have led to famine and death. Current farming practices also deplete soils of nutrients, forcing farmers to seek new farmland – at the expense of remaining forest. With declining forest comes declining water tables, which then lead to more drought. Conservation farming is designed to break that cycle.

With improved yield, farmers also require technical assistance on storage and handling of crops after harvest. Most farmers today sell much of their grain at harvest - when prices are lowest. TIST helps farmers create surplus and develop strategies to store surplus. Participants will be encouraged through harvest loans to hold some grain in storage until prices are higher.

Ultimately TIST can build upon the local business practices and the commercial infrastructure necessary for larger scale farming and business management through assessments of local needs followed by appropriate training and technical assistance. Commercial farming for example requires an increased use of the Internet, increased use of banking systems, clarification of legal structures, increased use of transportation, and new training techniques. These changes will elevate the base level of skill sets, competencies, and infrastructure within the region as the program grows from pilot into commercial operation. This will grow the capabilities of the region and improve the area's capacity to support a diversity of economic activities far beyond tree planting.

© I4EI

Data Last Updated: May 07, 2013

Content Last Updated: October 3, 2006