While the world population is expected to reach 9 billion in 2050, in West Africa, it will more than double. This situation will lead to a high demand for cereals in the region. At the same time, farmers are experiencing yield losses due to erratic rainfall. To come up with a sound and effective solution, the available but limited water should be used to achieve high yields through irrigation. Therefore, full and deficit irrigation management strategies were evaluated. The expected profit that can be obtained by a smallholder farmer under a conventional irrigation system in the short-term of investment was also assessed considering rope and bucket, treadle pump, and motorized pump water-lifting methods. The study focused on maize in northern Togo. The framework used in this study consisted of (i) a weather generator for simulating long-term climate time series; (ii) the AquaCrop model, which was used to simulate crop yield response to water; and (iii) a problem-specific algorithm for optimal irrigation scheduling with limited water supply. Results showed high variability in rainfall during the wet season leading to significant variability in the expected yield under rainfed conditions. This variability was substantially reduced when supplemental irrigation was applied. This holds for the irrigation management strategies evaluated in the dry season. Farmers’expected net incomes were US$ 133.35 and 78.11 per hectare for treadle pump and rope and bucket methods, respectively, under 10% exceedance probability. The motorized pump method is not appropriate for smallholder farmers in the short run.
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