Empower Program for Social Entrepreneurship

CARE Conservation Agriculture - Julie Zollmann

Julie Zollmann


Major / fields of study: Development Economics and International Business Relations

Tufts program & expected graduate year: Fletcher, MALD 2010

Developing a learning agenda around CARE’s conservation agriculture program, Tamale, Ghana

The international development and relief agency, CARE, has begun to develop a multi-country portfolio of conservation agriculture projects in sub-Saharan Africa to demonstrate effective ways to improve smallholder farmers’ yields and sustainable livelihoods.  Conservation agriculture (CA)—characterized by zero or minimum soil tillage, continuous soil cover through mulch or cover crops, and crop rotation—has been widely adopted in Canada, the US, and Brazil as an effective strategy to retain soil moisture, increase soil organic matter (improving fertility and trapping carbon), reduce erosion, and significantly boost profits through improved yields and reduced need for chemical inputs over the long term. 

I will be working with CARE staff to pull together their diverse conservation agriculture projects under a unified learning agenda.  I will begin my work in CARE’s Atlanta headquarters in early May.  In mid-June I will travel to the program’s most mature project site in Tamale, Ghana, where I will develop and field test a set of adapted monitoring tools to ensure key lessons are captured from the diverse projects, particularly in terms of how they affect income growth, income vulnerability, soil quality, food security, and women’s empowerment.