Agricultural water management pathways to breaking the poverty trap: case studies of the Limpopo, Nile and Volta river basins uri icon

abstract

  • Faced with a large and rapidly increasing population, declining resource base per person, low and stagnant agricultural productivity levels and slow economic growth, most African countries are caught up in a poverty trap. The situation is alarming in sub-Saharan Africa where the poverty situation continues to worsen, and the region remains home to 300 million of the world's extremely poor and hungry. This paper contributes to the present debate and efforts to identify strategies and interventions that can effectively contribute to breaking the poverty trap in the region. The paper provides an overview of population growth, malnutrition, income distribution and poverty for countries in three case study basins - the Limpopo, Nile and Volta basins. With discussions on the contribution of agriculture to national income and employment generation, the paper explores relationships between agricultural growth, employment growth and poverty alleviation. The paper examines the potential for expansion in irrigation for vertical and horizontal expansion in agricultural productivity. Factors constraining such potential, in terms of increasing resource scarcity and degradation, and poor governance and week institutions, are also outlined. The paper argues that the effective entry point, to enhance agricultural productivity and to catalyse agricultural and rural economic growth for effective poverty alleviation, is increased public investments in land and water resources development and management. Based on experiences and lessons learnt from Africa and Asia, the paper presents linkages of how land and water-induced agricultural growth would lead to regional economic growth and poverty alleviation in the case study basins. Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

publication date

  • 2007
  • 2007
  • 2007
  • 2007