The study is on adoption of “conservation farming” (CF) in maize production by small holder farmers of Makoni District in Zimbabwe as recommended by both government and non-governmental organization. The objective of this study was to find out the reasons why farmers did or did not adopt the recommended CF in maize production. Four categories of farmers were distinguished as: Adopting with support, adopting without support and non-adopting without support. One focus group consisted of first two categories whilst the other focus group consisted of last category. A Lead farmer, Ministry of Agriculture extension worker and a non- governmental organization field worker were the three key informants interviewed and the most frequently mentioned reasons for non-adoption of CF were: It is hard work throughout the year taking up time for other non-agricultural activities and overburdens women who do much of the winter weeding; Surplus maize produced is not profitable on the market compared to tobacco; Benefits take long to be realised especially on unfenced fields where the benefits of mulch are interrupted by crop residue removal during the dry season. Both participating and non-participating farmers in the project promoted by non-governmental organizations who have fully adopted CF mentioned reasons for adoption as: Increased maize productivity due to early planting and other high crop management practices in addition to the improved soil fertility which reduced witch weed infestation and improved water use efficiency; Saving of agricultural inputs which are expensive like inorganic basal fertilizer; Social belonging to a CF group has created avenues to venture into other income generating activities. The study concludes that some participating farmers are motivated to use CF in maize production. The non-adopting farmers viewed CF as unprofitable. Non-governmental organizations and government should promote CF without input incentives so as to remove the external motivation. Farmers with livestock need to be included in the project by promoting mechanized CF.
Key words: Conservation farming, Adoption, willingness.