A new report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) titled “What is the irrigation potential for Africa? A combined biophysical and socioeconomic approach” has been published.
The report argues that although irrigation in Africa has the potential to boost agricultural productivities by at least 50 per cent, food production is almost entirely sustained through rainwater, with only six per cent of the total cultivated area equipped for irrigation.
Over 70 per cent of Africa’s poor live in rural areas, and most of these people depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Therefore, the report says, agriculture has a key role to play in tackling poverty on the continent.
To help increase agricultural production and decrease poverty, many development agencies have recently proposed to substantially increase investments in irrigation in Africa. But, as the report claims, the potential for irrigation investments in the region is highly dependent on geographic, hydrologic, agronomic and economic factors that must be taken into account when the viability of projects is assessed.
The report analyses irrigation investment potential in Africa, and concludes that there is “significant profitable irrigation potential for both small-scale and large-scale systems”.
Farming First think that water use efficiency is important as water is a precious resource. By 2050, the proportion of the population facing stressed water supplies is expected to increase by 500% and the number facing full water scarcity is expected to increase by 800%.
We believe that research, innovation, and access to improved technologies, seeds, and improved irrigation techniques are essential to increasing the efficiency of water use, and that agriculture needs to be part of watershed management.
Click here to go to our water page, where you can download our position paper and read about our six-point action plan.