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Sustainable rice production in African inland valleys: Seizing regional potentials through local approaches

Sustainable rice production in African inland valleys: Seizing regional potentials through local approaches

Rodenburg, Jonne ORCID: 0000-0001-9059-9253, Zwart, Sander J., Kiepe, Paul, Narteh, Lawrence T., Dogbe, Wilson and Wopereis, Marco C.S. (2013) Sustainable rice production in African inland valleys: Seizing regional potentials through local approaches. Agricultural Systems, 123. pp. 1-11. ISSN 0308-521X (doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agsy.2013.09.004)

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Abstract

With an estimated surface area of 190 M ha, inland valleys are common landscapes in Africa. Due to their general high agricultural production potential, based on relatively high and secure water availability and high soil fertility levels compared to the surrounding uplands, these landscapes could play a pivotal role in attaining the regional objectives of food security and poverty alleviation. Besides agricultural production, i.e. mainly rice-based systems including fish-, vegetable- fruit- and livestock production, inland valleys provide local communities with forest, forage, hunting and fishing resources and they are important as water buffer and biodiversity hot spots. Degradation of natural resources in these vulnerable ecosystems, caused by indiscriminate development for the sole purpose of agricultural production, should be avoided. We estimate that, following improved water and weed management, production derived from less than 10% of the total inland valley area could equal the total current demand for rice in Africa. A significant part of the inland valley area in Africa could hence be safeguarded for other purposes.

The objective of this paper is to provide a methodology to facilitate fulfilment of the regional agricultural potential of inland valleys in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) such that local rural livelihoods are benefited and regional objectives of reducing poverty and increasing food safety are met, while safeguarding other inland-valley ecosystem services of local and regional importance. High-potential inland valleys should be carefully selected and developed and highly productive and resource-efficient crop production methods should be applied. This paper describes a participatory, holistic and localized approach to seize the regional potential of inland valleys to contribute to food security and poverty alleviation in sub-Saharan Africa. We analyzed over a 100 papers, reference works and databases and synthesized this with insights obtained from nearly two decades of research carried out by the Africa Rice Center and partners. We conclude that sustainable rice production in inland valleys requires a step-wise approach including: (1) the selection of ‘best-bet’ inland valleys, either new or already used ones, based on spatial modelling and a detailed feasibility study, (2) a stakeholder-participatory land use planning within the inland valley based on multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) methods and using multi-stakeholder platforms (MSP), (3) participatory inland-valley development, and (4) identification of local production constraints combining model simulations and farmer participatory priority exercises to select and adapt appropriate practices and technologies following integrated management principles.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Lowlands, Wetlands, Integrated crop management, Water management, Biodiversity, Participatory approaches
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Ecosystem Services Research Group
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2019 15:23
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/19050

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