Agricultural water management and livelihoods in the crop–livestock systems of the Volta Basin
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With mixed crop?livestock systems projected to be the principal source of food in developing countries in the coming decades, opportunities exist for smallholders to participate and benefit from emerging crop and livestock markets in the Volta Basin. Given the economic, social and environmental vulnerability due to high water scarcity and variability in the basin, improvements in agricultural water management (AWM) are needed to ensure sustainable benefits. A survey was conducted among 326 crop?livestock households in four water scarce sites of the basin in Burkina Faso and Ghana to characterize households in terms of access to water, services and information, AWM intensity and livelihoods, and to explore the linkages between these characteristics.
The sources of water were more diverse for study sites in Ghana than in Burkina, allowing different types of AWM strategies. Most of the farmers perceived a strong positive impact of AWM strategies on their livelihoods. Almost 70% of the variation in livelihood assets was explained by variation in AWM intensity, affecting mainly food consumption, sources of income and housing index. With increasing access to water, services and information, AWM intensity significantly increased, as well as labour for water-related activities and food consumption. This increase in AWM was significantly related to an increase in livelihood assets (R2?=?52%). Policies should be developed to improve access to information and services as well as access to market in rural areas of the Volta Basin, to enhance positive impact of AWM strategies on livelihoods of the rural households
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