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What is the irrigation potential for Africa?

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Author Info

  • You, Liangzhi
  • Ringler, Claudia
  • Nelson, Gerald
  • Wood-Sichra, Ulrike
  • Robertson, Richard
  • Wood, Stanley
  • Guo, Zhe
  • Zhu, Tingju
  • Sun, Yan

Abstract

Although irrigation in Africa has the potential to boost agricultural productivities by at least 50 percent, food production on the continent is almost entirely rainfed. The area equipped for irrigation, currently slightly more than 13 million hectares, makes up just 6 percent of the total cultivated area. Eighty-five percent of Africa’s poor live in rural areas and mostly depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. As a result, agricultural development is key to ending poverty on the continent. Many development organizations have recently proposed to significantly increase investments in irrigation in the region. However, the potential for irrigation investments in Africa is highly dependent upon geographic, hydrologic, agronomic, and economic factors that need to be taken into account when assessing the long-term viability and sustainability of planned projects. This paper analyzes large, dam-based and small-scale irrigation investment needs in Africa based on agronomic, hydrologic, and economic factors. This type of analysis can guide country- and local-level assessment of irrigation potential, which will be important to agricultural and economic development in Africa.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 993.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:993

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Keywords: internal rate of return; Investment; irrigation potential; large-scale irrigation; small-scale irrigation;

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  1. You, Liangzhi & Wood, Stanley, 2006. "An entropy approach to spatial disaggregation of agricultural production," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-3), pages 329-347, October.
  2. Inocencio, Arlene & Kikuchi, Masao & Tonosaki, Manabu & Maruyama, Atsushi & Merrey, Douglas & Sally, Hilmy & de Jong, Ijsbrand, 2007. "Costs and performance of irrigation projects: A comparison of Sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions," IWMI Research Reports H036214, International Water Management Institute.
  3. You, Liangzhi & Wood, Stanley & Wood-Sichra, Ulrike, 2007. "Generating plausible crop distribution and performance maps for Sub-Saharan Africa using a spatially disaggregated data fusion and optimization approach:," IFPRI discussion papers 725, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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