Agro‐Economic Characterization of Rice Production in a Typical Irrigation Scheme in Burkina Faso
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Yield, yield gaps, input use, N-use efficiency, productivity, and profitability of irrigated rice in Burkina Faso were determined for a typical irrigation scheme in the dry season (DS) 1999 and the wet season (WS) 2000. Objectives were to analyze agro-economic constraints and opportunities and determine ways to overcome such constraints. The simulation model RIDEV was used to analyze farmers' crop management practices, revealing considerable deviation between actual and optimal timing of crop management interventions. This diversity of cropping practices caused considerable variation of internal efficiency of N (IEN), partial factor productivity of N (PFPN), N recovery fraction (RFN), rice (Oryza sativa L.) grain yields, and net benefits of N-use. The results showed a clear relation between plant N uptake and yield (mean IEN of 48 kg grain kg(-1) N uptake in farmer's fields), but the relation between N applied and yield was scattered. The PFPN varied from 16 to 52 kg grain kg(-1) N applied (mean of 35 kg grain kg(-1) N applied) due to a large range of fertilizer N recovery rates (RFN = 7-77%; mean of 37%). Farmers' average yields were 4.9 Mg ha(-1) in the DS and 3.6 Mg ha(-1) in the WS, but yields were very variable and ranged from 0.9 to 7.9 Mg ha(-1) in the DS and from 1.0 to 7.9 Mg ha(-1) in the WS. Yield gaps between average farmer's yield and best farmer's yield were high (3.0 Mg ha(-1) in the DS and 4.3 Mg ha(-1) in the WS), indicating considerable scope for yield increases in both seasons. Net benefits to irrigated rice cropping were mostly positive (avg. $418 (US) ha(-1)) in the dry season, but very low in the wet season (avg. $108 (US) ha(-1)). Partial budget analysis of fertilizer use revealed considerably lower value/cost ratios of fertilizer use in the wet season (mean V/C: 1.5) compared with the dry season (mean V/C: 2.9). It was concluded that improved crop management practices are the key to reach higher yields and financial returns without additional investments.
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