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Optimizing Agricultural Water Management for the Green Revolution in Africa

Abstract

The word “famine” nowadays applies almost exclusively to the African continent. Up till the end of the twentieth century, the “hunger belt” usually referred to the Horn of Africa countries, but the new millennium has seen several countries in southern Africa join the group requiring food aid. In all cases of famine, lack/shortage of rainfall is cited as the main cause. Yet, within the same continent there are countries which are food secure, but normally receive much less rainfall than the “drought” rainfall amounts of the hunger belts. Just how much is agriculture in Africa retarded by water scarcity? Or is it simply poor management of agricultural water? Or better still, by how much could African agriculture recoup from targeted management of water that is or could be made available to agriculture? The fact that the problem has persisted means that either not enough has been done or what has been done has had little impact. Thus, the innovations needed in agricultural water management so as to propel the African Green Revolution will require more than just exploring case studies of experimental trials. They have to include changing the perceptions and actions of vast cross sections of society, from farmers to decision makers, and even those in the non-farming sectors. This chapter therefore describes some project-scale water management initiatives relevant to smallholder agriculture in Africa. It also explores the wider options to enhance the prioritization of agricultural water management at decision-making levels and optimal management of water by practitioners.

Keywords

  • Agricultural water management
  • Practices
  • Investment
  • Policy
  • Networking
  • Africa

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Mati, B.M. (2011). Optimizing Agricultural Water Management for the Green Revolution in Africa. In: Bationo, A., Waswa, B., Okeyo, J., Maina, F., Kihara, J. (eds) Innovations as Key to the Green Revolution in Africa. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-90-481-2543-2_7

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