With climate change expected to bring more frequent and longer droughts to the Sub-Saharan African (SSA) region, its agricultural productivity will further decrease putting strain on local food markets, thus increasing rates of malnutrition in poverty-stricken areas. Much of the irrigated areas in SSA depend on groundwater or run-off-river pumping systems. However, climate change has caused the availability of quantity and quality of water for irrigation necessary for crop production to be at risk. Thus choosing irrigation technologies that increase crop productivity and choosing crops that are drought- and-salt tolerant are ways in which such risks can be minimized which can lead to improvements in agricultural productivity and farm income.
The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) is implementing a project in seven SSA countries with funding from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Saudi Arabia. The partner countries include Burkina Faso, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania Niger, Nigeria and Senegal. The overall goal of the project is to use an inter-disciplinary approach to improving the performance of irrigated farming systems of these countries by considering: water availability and quality, irrigation technologies and management, genetic diversification to improve sustainable and year-round agricultural production, improve water management for seed production for commercialization and diversification, appropriate soil, water and nutrient management practices, and rural socio-economics, market linkage and value-chain development. Such improvements in farming systems will help in achieving food and nutrition security and provide dependable supply of basic agricultural products, and value chain development in job creation and development.
Dr. Asad Sarwar Qureshi