Rainwater management for poverty reduction

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Presentation by Eva Ludi (ODI) at the NBDC Workshop on Baselining Changes in Planning, Implementation and Collective Action, Addis Ababa, Nov 8-11, 2010

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  • rain water management ” (RWM), defined broadly to include soil and water conservation (SWC), in situ and ex situ rainwater harvesting, conservation farming, and small-scale irrigation
  • RWM = integrating land and water management, crop component technology, crop management, crop-livestock systems, pastoral systems and agro forestry systems so as to raise productivity and incomes and enhance resilience, while slowing land degradation and reducing downstream siltation.
  • The term “Agricultural Water Management” (AWM) has come to be defined in a broad manner, to include management of water for crops, agro forestry, livestock and fish in the continuum of agricultural systems ranging from full irrigation to those dependent entirely on rainfall. Most Sub-Saharan African (SSA) smallholder farmers depend on rainfed agriculture; and most staple grains are rainfed.
  • Rainfed agriculture is by definition dependent on the timing and amount of rainfall; and in most regions of Africa rainfall is highly variable and unreliable. This is the case even in areas with relatively high average rainfall, such as the East African Highlands. This is a major factor underlying low productivity:
  • even if input and output markets are operating and farmers have access to improved seed and fertilizer, they are still reluctant to invest because of the high risk of loss. In much of SSA markets do not operate well, and until recently governments have under-invested in agricultural support. Farmers’ risk aversion is a rational strategy in this situation.
  • The result is low productivity of rainfed agriculture, high levels of poverty and poor health, high levels of vulnerability to shocks such as drought or illness, and continuous under-investment in sustaining the productivity of the natural resource base – a perfect vicious cycle.
  • Rainfed agriculture can be upgraded by improving soil moisture conservation and, where feasible, providing supplemental irrigation, if combined with improved fertility and crop management in a context where farmers can benefit from such investments. The critical requirement is to take an integrated and holistic approach and avoid focusing too narrowly on one dimension, be it water, soil, or crop variety. In this context, the CPWF has therefore adopted the term “ rain water management ” (RWM), defined broadly to include soil and water conservation (SWC), in situ and ex situ rainwater harvesting, conservation farming, and small-scale irrigation.
  • Rainwater management for poverty reduction

    1. 1. Rainwater Management for Poverty Reduction Eva Ludi Overseas Development Institute NBDC Workshop on Baselining Changes in Planning, Implementation and Collective Action Addis Ababa, Nov 8-11, 2010
    2. 2. Overall objective of CPWF <ul><li>“ to increase the productivity of water for food and livelihoods, in a manner that is environmentally sustainable, socially acceptable, and alleviates poverty for disadvantaged groups” </li></ul><ul><li>Nile Basin Development Challenge (BDC) focuses specifically on “improving rural livelihoods and their resilience through a landscape approach to rainwater management.” </li></ul>
    3. 3. Landscape <ul><li>draws attention to the critical importance of taking an integrated approach - including land, water, crops, livestock, etc. at a watershed level </li></ul>
    4. 4. Rainwater Management <ul><li>Rainwater management (RWM) draws attention to the need to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>capture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>store </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>rainfall in a way that is productive and avoids environmental degradation </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. <ul><li>Rain Water Management = </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Soil and water conservation (SWC) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>in situ and ex situ rainwater harvesting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conservation farming </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Small scale irrigation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>crop, tree and livestock management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>-> used for multiple purposes, both productive and domestic . </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Rainwater management strategy Purpose Management options Increase plant water availability Ex-situ (external) water-harvesting systems Dry spell mitigation, protective irrigation, spring protection groundwater recharge, enable off-season irrigation, multiple water use Surface micro-dams, subsurface tanks, farm ponds, percolation dams/tanks, diversion and recharging structures
    7. 7. Rainwater management strategy Purpose Management options In-situ water-harvesting systems Concentrate run-off to cropped area and/or other use Maximize rainfall infiltration Bunds, ridges, broad-beds and furrows, micro-basins, run-off strips Terracing, contour cultivation, conservation agriculture, staggered trenches
    8. 8. Rainwater management strategy Purpose Management options Evaporation management Reduce non-productive evaporation Dry planting (early), mulching conservation agriculture, intercropping, windbreaks, agro-forestry, early plant vigour, vegetative bunds, optimum crop geometry
    9. 9. Rainwater management strategy Purpose Management options Increase plant water uptake capacity Integrated soil and crop management Increase proportion of water balance flowing as productive transpiration Improved crop varieties, soil fertility, optimum crop rotation, pest control, organic matter
    10. 10. Rainwater management strategy Purpose Management options Crop, tree and livestock management Increase water productivity = more production per amount of water uptake Improved crop varieties, shade trees, better distribution of watering points for livestock
    11. 11. <ul><li>Successful implementation of RWM will lead to higher productivity of water = more value produced per unit of water consumed, while minimizing and even reversing land and water degradation. </li></ul><ul><li>Integrated rainwater management strategies combine technologies, policies and institutions. </li></ul>
    12. 12. <ul><li>Examine the extent to which policy change and institutional strengthening and reform can combine with new technologies to spur widespread innovation. </li></ul><ul><li>Institutions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>micro-credit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>cooperative societies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>land tenure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>collective action in communities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>various roles of formal and informal institutions </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Why is RWM important for poverty reduction? <ul><li>Agricultural Water Management -> management of water for crops, agro-forestry, livestock and fish </li></ul><ul><li>Continuum from full irrigation to those depending entirely on rainfall </li></ul><ul><li>Sub-saharan Africa -> most farmers depend on rainfed agriculture and most staple grains are rainfed </li></ul>
    14. 16. <ul><li>Rainfed agriculture depends on timing & amount of rainfall </li></ul><ul><li>In most African countries rainfall – timing and amount – is variable and unreliable </li></ul><ul><li>High risk! </li></ul>
    15. 17. <ul><li>Low productivity of agriculture has many underlying factors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>weak input and output markets </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lacking infrastructure (roads, electricity, ports, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>weak institutions (e.g. land tenure security, marketing, financing, export handling, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not sufficient investments in agriculture (including R&D) </li></ul></ul>
    16. 18. <ul><li>Low productivity of agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>->high levels of poverty and poor health </li></ul><ul><li>-> high levels of vulnerability to shocks and stress </li></ul><ul><li>-> continuous underinvestment in sustaining the productivity of the natural resource base </li></ul>
    17. 20. How to reverse this vicious cycle? <ul><li>Most of the additional food production in the future must come from rainfed agriculture; </li></ul><ul><li>There is a huge potential for reversing the present vicious circle by investing in improved water, land and crop management in rainfed systems </li></ul>
    18. 21. Upgrading rainfed agricultural systems <ul><li>Improving soil moisture conservation </li></ul><ul><li>where feasible supplementing it with irrigation </li></ul><ul><li>in combination with improved fertility and crop management </li></ul><ul><li>-> holistic approach: including different resources (soil, water, nutrients, etc.) and different components of the agricultural system (crops, livestock, trees) </li></ul>

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