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Climate change and small scale irrigation in northern Ghana

Author(s): Farmersí perception of constraints and solutions
Congress: 2008
Author(s): Patricia Adiam, Victor Afari-Sefa, Bruno Barbier
Patrica Adam, doctoral fellow at ZEF, University of Bonn, Germany Patricia Adiam (ZEF), Victor Afari-Sefa (ZEF), Bruno Barbier (CIRAD)

Keyword(s): irrigation, risk, climate variability, climate change
AbstractClimate has changed dramatically in West Africa as drought hit hard farming systems in the seventies and eighties. To cope with the drought the Ghanaian government has invested in small irrigation schemes that have contributed significantly to poverty alleviation. The question remains whether irrigation does reduce agricultural risk. A survey was realised in 20 communities of northern Ghana through focus groups. The main constraints of irrigation were identified and farmersí perception of climate variability and change were monitored. Irrigation was perceived as a positive solution to increase production but is not necessarily a proper risk coping strategy. In case of extreme events crop failure can be worse than under rainfed conditions. In case of extreme drought reservoirs cannot deliver the water for dry season production. Excessive rainfall, destroy schemes, lowland production and often dams themselves. We explore farmersí perception of crop insurances and weather forecast as cheaper alternatives.
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