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Water 2016, 8(9), 411; doi:10.3390/w8090411

Improving Water Sustainability and Food Security through Increased Crop Water Productivity in Malawi

1
International Water Management Institute (IWMI), 141 Cresswell St., Weavind Park, Silverton 0184, Pretoria, South Africa
2
School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ranka Junge
Received: 19 July 2016 / Revised: 1 September 2016 / Accepted: 14 September 2016 / Published: 21 September 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1521 KB, uploaded 21 September 2016]   |  

Abstract

Agriculture accounts for most of the renewable freshwater resource withdrawals in Malawi, yet food insecurity and water scarcity remain as major challenges. Despite Malawi’s vast water resources, climate change, coupled with increasing population and urbanisation are contributing to increasing water scarcity. Improving crop water productivity has been identified as a possible solution to water and food insecurity, by producing more food with less water, that is, to produce “more crop per drop”. This study evaluated crop water productivity from 2000 to 2013 by assessing crop evapotranspiration, crop production and agricultural gross domestic product (Ag GDP) contribution for Malawi. Improvements in crop water productivity were evidenced through improved crop production and productivity. These improvements were supported by increased irrigated area, along with improved agronomic practices. Crop water productivity increased by 33% overall from 2000 to 2013, resulting in an increase in maize production from 1.2 million metric tons to 3.6 million metric tons, translating to an average food surplus of 1.1 million metric tons. These developments have contributed to sustainable improved food and nutrition security in Malawi, which also avails more water for ecosystem functions and other competing economic sectors. View Full-Text
Keywords: agricultural gross domestic product (Ag GDP); crop evapotranspiration; food security; water management; water productivity; crop productivity; water scarcity agricultural gross domestic product (Ag GDP); crop evapotranspiration; food security; water management; water productivity; crop productivity; water scarcity
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Nhamo, L.; Mabhaudhi, T.; Magombeyi, M. Improving Water Sustainability and Food Security through Increased Crop Water Productivity in Malawi. Water 2016, 8, 411.

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