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The role of water harvesting to achieve sustainable agricultural intensification and resilience against water related shocks in sub-Saharan Africa

Dile, Yihun Taddele, Karlberg, Louise, Temesgen, Melesse, Rockström, Johan
Agriculture, ecosystems & environment 2013 v.181 pp. 69-79
drought, ecosystems, environmental impact, foods, harvesting, risk, risk reduction, rural areas, sustainable agricultural intensification, tropics, water harvesting
Poverty alleviation in rural areas is a top priority for social and economic development, particularly against a backdrop of rising populations up to 2050 and to meet growing food demands in a rapidly urbanizing world. Sustainable intensification of agricultural techniques are therefore required, such as water management practices that result in higher agricultural production without causing severe environmental impacts, whilst at the same time improving resilience to drought and dry spells. Water harvesting practices have shown promising results in reducing risks, and improving yields whilst also delivering positive impacts on other ecosystems. However, before large scale implementation of water harvesting, further investigation of local downstream impacts are warranted. We conclude that water harvesting remains a promising option for sustainable agricultural intensification in the water scarce tropics, resulting in both risk reduction and yield improvements.