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Prospects for agricultural water management
Recent international trends such as incentives to avoid carbon emissions from deforestation (REDD+) or the exclusion of deforestation-related goods from supply chains suggest Suriname is in extraordinary position to greatly benefit from becoming a leader in deforestation-free agriculture.
The provision of water for the rice sector requires government investment. The irrigation system in Suriname requires resources for its administration, operation and maintenance. It is important to design management systems and even set a fee on the provision of this service to increase the efficiency of the system and improve its performance.
Productivity levels have a large impact on the demand for land from the rice sector. If rice productivity stagnates at current levels (┬▒ 4.2 tons/ha), high production targets would mean that the rice production area would need to increase by more than 20 000 hectares by 2022. On the other hand an accelerated productivity increase combined with modest increases in production targets would mean that 10 000 ha could be liberated from rice production. If productivity increase keeps pace with production targets, 15 000 ha could be available for other crops after meeting production targets from the rice sector. This area is three times as large as the area currently occupied by vegetables and fruit crops in Suriname. Economic returns from these crops are on average ten times higher than returns from rice production (IIS, 2012).