To meet the growing national demand for rice, governments in West Africa are promoting a model of agricultural investment which is oriented towards specialisation and intensification in rice farming, with the aim of increasing both production and productivity. For family farms, by contrast, rice production has to be part of a wider strategy to strengthen subsistence livelihoods and manage risk, by diversifying their sources of capital.
Large irrigation dams in West Africa are not delivering on their promise to significantly reduce the US$1 billion per year of rice imports to the region. Many smallholder farmers cultivating the land irrigated by large dams are struggling to make ends meet. Agricultural advisory services are meant to support these farmers, not just by providing technical advice, but also by connecting them with other service providers along the value chain. But there are large gaps between what is provided and smallholder farmers’ actual service needs.
This is a report of the national workshop on "Food security: What challenges for small producers in the large-scale irrigation around dams in Mali?", organised by GWI and the dam management agency for Sélingué dam (ODRS) in December 2013 in Bamako, Mali.
This workshop followed a regional workshop on the same topic held in Ouagadougou in July 2013, which helped to consolidate the messages from three case studies in Burkina Faso (Bagré dam), Mali (Sélingué dam) and Senegal (Niandouba dam).
This literature review was based on the case of thirteen large dams in West Africa with the aim of building understanding of the various interventions used to support farmer innovation and share lessons learned and recommendations. The challenges farmers face in terms of food security and well-being at present are often linked to the control of water resources. A number of measures have been taken to address this in Africa and across the world, including the construction of dams of different sizes and with different functions (e.g. agricultural, hydropower).
This is a report of the regional workshop "Making large dams in West Africa profitable: What role for agricultural advice?" held in Bamako, on 4 and 5 June 2014. The workshop was organized by the Global Water Initiative (GWI) in West Africa in partnership with IED-Afrique (Innovation, Environment and Development).
The national forum on irrigated land tenure security in Niger was held on 7-8 May 2014 in Konni. This event was organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, in partnership with GWI, and implemented by IUCN and IIED, in collaboration with the High Commission for the Niger Valley Development (HCAVN) and the High Commission for the 3N Initiative.
This factsheet looks at how GWI West Africa has worked with rural communities in the Anambé river basin in Senegal to raise awareness of local land use planning processes (POAS) in their local areas. This approach has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of conflicts over land in the region, and could be replicated elsewhere.
This factsheet provides an overview of the work of the Global Water Initiative in West Africa between 2012 and 2017, which focuses on 'water for agriculture'. The Global Water Initiative is funded by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the West Africa programme is implemented by IIED and IUCN.
The aim of this workshop was to bring together experts and practitioners to identify what works and what doesn't in the irrigated areas focused on by GWI in Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal and draw lessons from these insights to improve existing services and establish best practice to be used for dams currently being developed.
There is plenty of evidence that smallholders are creative and generate relevant innovations – new and better ways of farming – which enable them to adapt to changes in climate, economies and markets, as well as to social change. But agricultural policies and investments need to create a conducive environment for this to happen.