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Complementarity between Irrigation and Fertilizer Technologies - A Justification for Increased Irrigation Investment in the Less-Favored Areas of SSA

Listed author(s):
  • Yilma, Tsegaye
  • Berger, Thomas
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    There is a downward spiral of declining soil fertility, low crop yield and increasing poverty in the less-favored areas of SSA. The semi-arid tropics of northern Ghana share this episode. The soils in this part of the country are naturally less endowed, have little organic matter content and farmers use very little inorganic fertilizer. Existing studies indicate that the erratic nature of rainfall in the area increases risk and constrains farmers' investment on inorganic fertilizer. However, agronomic studies suggest that promotion of sustainable use of inorganic fertilizer is indispensable at least in the short to medium term to break the downward spiral. Therefore, promoting sustainable use of inorganic fertilizer use remains to be a policy challenge. This paper argues that in spite of observed disinvestment on irrigation both by governments and donors there is significant complementarity between irrigation and inorganic fertilizer use in the less-favored areas of northern Ghana. This implies that increased irrigation investment in the semi-arid tropics of SSA can be justified given its importance in reducing rainfall risk and boosting inorganic fertilizer use.

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    Paper provided by International Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia with number 25701.

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    Date of creation: 2006
    Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae06:25701
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    1. Savadogo, Kimseyinga & Reardon, Thomas & Pietola, Kyosti, 1998. "Adoption of improved land use technologies to increase food security in Burkina Faso: relating animal traction, productivity, and non-farm income," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 441-464, November.
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    6. Clay, Daniel & Reardon, Thomas & Kangasniemi, Jaakko, 1998. "Sustainable Intensification in the Highland Tropics: Rwandan Farmers' Investments in Land Conservation and Soil Fertility," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 351-377, January.
    7. Matlon, Peter J., 1990. "Improving Productivity in Sorghum and Pearl Millet in Semi-Arid Africa," Food Research Institute Studies, Stanford University, Food Research Institute, issue 01.
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    9. John M. Antle, 1989. "Nonstructural Risk Attitude Estimation," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 71(3), pages 774-784.
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    11. Weight, David & Kelly, Valerie A., 1998. "Restoring Soil Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa: Technical and Economic Issues," Food Security International Development Policy Syntheses 11374, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
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