Prospects for Improving Irrigated Agriculture in Southern Africa: Linking Water, Energy and Food
What Is the Vision for Food Security in Africa and Southern Africa?
2. WEF Nexus Considerations for Expanding the Area under Irrigation
2.1. Water for Agriculture: Irrigation Infrastructure Development in Southern Africa
2.2. Water for Energy
2.3. Energy for Agriculture
2.4. Water Markets and the WEF Nexus
2.5. Land and the WEF Nexus
- Linking developmental projects related to water, energy and food (agriculture) to the WEF nexus analytical framework to guide decision-making;
- Develop capacity for water storage through dam construction; this should prioritise small dams for small-scale irrigation in rural areas to improve agricultural production and local food security. The focus on dam construction should be balanced with the rehabilitation and maintenance of existing infrastructure as well as investments in ecological infrastructure, which will make more water available sustainably;
- Exploit untapped groundwater resources to counter rainfall variability and add to surface water resources;
- Conjunctive irrigation–green water models for agricultural water management;
- Increased use of alternative water sources, e.g., partially treated wastewater, for peri-urban irrigated agricultural activities to support urban and peri-urban food supplies in quality and quantity;
- Broaden the energy base through pursuing innovative, sustainable and renewable energy sources to increase energy supply and reduce the cost of energy to the consumers. Currently, the cost of energy is often a hindrance to the success of small-scale irrigation schemes;
- Adopt policies that promote small-scale irrigation and empower smallholder famers to adapt and build resilience to climate variability and change;
- Promote innovative, water- and energy-efficient irrigation practices that can enhance economic advantages for irrigated agriculture while mitigating negative environmental impacts. This would include developing remote-sensing and crop-modelling technologies for precision soil water-content determination and irrigation scheduling support; this could reduce overirrigation and energy usage in large-scale irrigation schemes and improve water productivity;
- Prioritise human capacity development and the development of training plans for workers on sustainability as a strategy to support and sustain the innovations and improve the water productivity of new and existing irrigation schemes;
- Align interventions to improve agricultural productivity through irrigation with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and
- Improved access to and rights to securely tenured land for irrigated agricultural use in rural areas.
- Improved agronomic practices: currently, the proportion of fertilizer used across SSA is less than 5% of the global agriculture consumption. Improving soil fertility is critical for efforts aimed at addressing the productivity of the agricultural sector and tackling hunger in the region and increasing return on investments in increasing the area under irrigation;
- Promoting climate-smart agriculture methods that increase food and biofuel crop production and efficient resource use under rainfed and irrigated conditions; and
- Improving the access to and capacity of agricultural advisory services needed to support the technical interventions.
4. Limitations and Risks
- Absence of operational WEF nexus policies and their adoption in member countries.
- Lack of buy-in to the WEF nexus from policy people and strategists on the ground.
- Resource limitations from the government departments responsible for coordinating and implementing the WEF nexus.
- Limitations in the ability of implementing persons to apply and operationalise the WEF nexus.
- Inaccessibility and inadequacies in the data required to effectively apply the WEF nexus.
- Lack of proper tools, e.g., models, to successfully apply the WEF nexus.
- Lack of proper metrics applicable to the region in general and countries specifically.
- Lack of frameworks to measure the success of any WEF nexus implementation and applications.
- Shift in political positions by governments that will negate the effective application of the WEF nexus, e.g., change in policies, rules and regulations that govern water, land and energy resources.
- Market manipulations for political expediency, thus negating the proper management of natural and agricultural resources, e.g., drastic land and water reforms.
- Uncontrollable externalities that might dominate the WEF nexus, e.g., climate change/variations or regional political instability.
Conflicts of Interest
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|Country||Irrigation Potential (1000 ha)||Irrigation Potential Equipped for Irrigation (1000 ha)||Potential Area for New Irrigation Development (1000 ha)||Area Under Non-Equipped Agricultural Water Management (1000 ha)|
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Mabhaudhi, T.; Mpandeli, S.; Nhamo, L.; Chimonyo, V.G.P.; Nhemachena, C.; Senzanje, A.; Naidoo, D.; Modi, A.T. Prospects for Improving Irrigated Agriculture in Southern Africa: Linking Water, Energy and Food. Water 2018, 10, 1881. https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121881
Mabhaudhi T, Mpandeli S, Nhamo L, Chimonyo VGP, Nhemachena C, Senzanje A, Naidoo D, Modi AT. Prospects for Improving Irrigated Agriculture in Southern Africa: Linking Water, Energy and Food. Water. 2018; 10(12):1881. https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121881Chicago/Turabian Style
Mabhaudhi, Tafadzwanashe, Sylvester Mpandeli, Luxon Nhamo, Vimbayi G. P. Chimonyo, Charles Nhemachena, Aidan Senzanje, Dhesigen Naidoo, and Albert T Modi. 2018. "Prospects for Improving Irrigated Agriculture in Southern Africa: Linking Water, Energy and Food" Water 10, no. 12: 1881. https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121881