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Adapting irrigation to climate change (AICCA)

Background

Small-scale irrigation and other forms of agricultural water management are critical in building resilience to increased climate variability.

The West and Central Africa region is endowed with abundant water resources, but unevenly distributed across the region; yet less than three percent of its arable land benefits from some form of water management. Furthermore, the region is becoming highly vulnerable to climate change, and farmers across the region are increasingly dealing with climate variability and weather risks. Dry spells and significant climate events such as devastating droughts and floods are hitting smallholders more frequently, and there is an urgent need to adapt the irrigation techniques.

Smallholder farmers in the region are increasingly using small-scale irrigation to cultivate their land. It enables farmers to achieve more reliable, profitable and sustainable production, increase their resilience and, in some cases, transform their livelihoods. In this light, small-scale irrigation is very promising in West and Central Africa as it can promote rural food security, poverty alleviation and adaptation to climate change.

While at national level, adaptation involves a combination of policy adjustments and investments in infrastructure, much of on-farm adaptation is autonomous and relies on smallholder farmers. For this reason, there is a range of technologies and practices that are adapted to climate shocks that need to be inventoried and scaled up in the region.

In addition, the West and Central Africa region is characterized by a large variety of agro-ecologies and diverse access modalities to natural resources. These highlight the need to better understand and further customize small-scale irrigation schemes to ensure resilience to increasing climate hazard.

The goal of this project is to improve sustainability and adaptation of small-scale irrigation systems across key agro-ecological zones in West and Central Africa.

This project is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO).