Improving Land and Water Management: Creating a Sustainable Food Future, Installment 4


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An examination of the role of four improved land and water management practices and the effect they could have on smallholder crop yields and livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa. We then provide a series of recommendations for how to scale up these practices.

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Improving Land and Water Management: Creating a Sustainable Food Future, Installment 4

  1. 1. October 2013 Craig Hanson, Steward, World Resources Report Photo Source: Chris Reij IMPROVING LAND AND WATER MANAGEMENT Installment 4 of “Creating a Sustainable Food Future”
  2. 2. Source: Henao and Baanante, 2006. Several regions in Africa have relatively high rates of nutrient depletion on agricultural lands Annual nutrient depletion, kg NPK/ha/year
  3. 3. Source: Hengl and Reuter, 2009. Soils in Africa are relatively low in organic carbon Topsoil organic carbon, percent mass fraction
  4. 4. Sub-Saharan Africa uses much less fertilizer per hectare than any other region Kilograms per hectare Source: IFDC, 2013.
  5. 5. Cereal yields in Sub-Saharan Africa are much lower than other regions Metric tons per hectare Source: Derived from FAO data; graph by IFDC.
  6. 6. From 1961–2001, food production increases in Sub-Saharan Africa were achieved mainly by expanding the area of cropland Source: Henao and Baanante, 2006. Note: Baseline data in 1961 is given the value of 100; subsequent data for yield and area are in units of percent change relative to 1961.
  7. 7. Source: Shitumbanuma, 2012. Maize yields in Zambia are higher under Faidherbia trees Kilograms per hectare Note: Average maize grain yields from trial sites under and outside canopies of mature Faidherbia albida trees across regions in Zambia.
  8. 8. Conservation agriculture is widely used in many continents, but not in Africa Source: Shitumbanuma, 2012.
  9. 9. Conservation agriculture with intercropping of Faidherbia albida trees (agroforestry) in Malawi Source: Bunderson, 2012.
  10. 10. Conservation agriculture increased maize yields in Malawi in 2011, and combining it with agroforestry (intercropping of Faidherbia trees) increased yields even further Metric tons per hectare Source: Bunderson, 2012.
  11. 11. A combination of water harvesting practices increases grain yields more than one practice (Burkina Faso) Kilograms per hectare Source: Sawadogo, 2008. Note: These two groups of villages are located on the northern central plateau of Burkina Faso. “BAU” = business as usual
  12. 12. Source: Mazvimavi et al., 2008. Water harvesting combined with conservation agriculture increases gross margins for farmers in Zimbabwe Gross margins, US$ per hectare Note: Data from nine districts in Zimbabwe, across rainfall zones.
  13. 13. Source: Sawadogo, 2012. Micro-dosing further increases sorghum yields beyond other land and water management practices (Burkina Faso, 2009–11) Kilograms per hectare
  14. 14. Source: IFDC, 2011. ISFM contributed to yield increases of three major crops for farmers in West Africa, 2006–10 Kilograms per hectare Note: No 2006 data was available for maize.
  15. 15. Source: IFDC, 2011. Revenues increased significantly for farmers adopting ISFM in West Africa, 2006–10 US$ per hectare Note: No 2006 data was available or groundnuts. Data converted from CFA francs using a conversion rate of 1 CFA franc = .0021 US Dollar.
  16. 16. Source: IFDC, 2012. Farmers in Central Africa benefited greatly from increased crop yields and revenues following the adoption of ISFM practices Annual benefits
  17. 17. Integrated landscape approaches take account of the importance of ecosystem services in managing agricultural landscapes
  18. 18. Success in scaling up improved land and water management requires attention to gender • Women are responsible for 80 percent of agricultural work • Labor inputs of women exceed those of men by 10-12 hours a week • 95 percent of external resources (seeds, tools) are channeled to men • Women often do not have the same rights and management authority as men • Add photo to illustrate importance of gender Source: De Sarker, 2011. Photo: Chris Reij.
  19. 19. Source: WRI, 2013. Agroforestry and water harvesting could be scaled up on more than 300 million hectares in Sub-Saharan Africa
  20. 20. Increase communication and outreach Photo Source: Chris Reij.
  21. 21. Support institutional and policy reforms Photo Source: Reseau MARP Burkina.
  22. 22. Support capacity building Photo Source: Chris Reij.
  23. 23. Mainstream investing in improved land and water management Photo Source: Attari Boukar.
  24. 24. For more information: