Improving irrigation management in semi-arid regions of Sub-Saharan Africa is crucial to respond to increasing variability in rainfall and overcome deficits in current irrigation schemes. In small-scale and medium-scale reservoir-based irrigation schemes in the Upper East region of Ghana, we explored options for improving the traditional, dry season irrigation practices and assessed the potential for supplemental irrigation in the rainy season. The AquaCrop model was used to (i) assess current water management in the typical tomato-maize rotational system; (ii) develop an improved irrigation schedule for dry season cultivation of tomato; and (iii) determine the requirement for supplemental irrigation of maize in the rainy season under different climate scenarios. The improved irrigation schedule for dry season tomato cultivation would result in a water saving of 130–1325 mm compared to traditional irrigation practices, accompanied by approximately a 4–14% increase in tomato yield. The supplemental irrigation of maize would require 107–126 mm of water in periods of low rainfall and frequent dry spells, and 88–105 mm in periods of high rainfall and rare dry spells. Therefore, year-round irrigated crop production may be feasible, using water saved during dry season tomato cultivation for supplemental irrigation of maize in the rainy season.
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