Performance of small reservoir irrigated schemes in the Upper Volta basin: Case studies in Burkina Faso and Ghana
Water Resources and Rural Development
IRD, UMR G-EAU, 361, rue J.F. Breton, B.P. 5095, Montpellier Cedex 5, France; CIRAD, UMR G-EAU, 361, rue J.F. Breton, B.P. 5095, Montpellier Cedex 5, France; CSIR-SARI, P.O. Box TL 52, Tamale, Ghana; INERA, 01 B.P. 910, Bobo Dioulasso, Burkina Faso; 2iE, 01 BP 594, Ouagadougou 01, Burkina Faso; IRD MARBEC, Université de Montpellier, CC 093, Montpellier Cedex 5, France
A major direct use of water from West African small reservoirs is irrigation. Analyzing the performances of irrigated agriculture is therefore a useful way to measure the impact of small reservoirs on food security and livelihoods of local communities. The aim of this study was to assess the performance of two such irrigated schemes in the Upper Volta basin (one in Burkina Faso and the other in Ghana) through participatory methods, to jointly identify major constraints, and to discuss possible solutions with local communities. The agronomic and economic performance of irrigated agriculture at both sites were far from satisfactory, due to the lack of maintenance of the small reservoirs and irrigation schemes, sub-optimal crop management, and poor product marketing. These issues were analyzed with the farmers across differing sub-schemes and cropping systems and some solutions were envisaged. Our assessment showed that farmers often had difficulty obtaining quality agricultural inputs and marketing their products. The poor performance of irrigated crops, due to poor condition of hydraulic infrastructures, poor agronomic management, and organizational failure provided only limited incomes for local households. Nevertheless, the existence and the many uses of small reservoirs improved food security and created indirect activities that also enhanced livelihoods. The local authorities generally considered preserving water to be a priority in small reservoir management, but the degradation of irrigation schemes could happen quickly and result in scheme failures, thus reducing indirect economic activities and causing under utilization or even abandonment of the small reservoir, unless appropriate measures are taken. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.