A Comparative Analysis of Yield Gaps and Water Productivity on Smallholder Farms in Ethiopia, South Africa and Tunisia

Nebo Jovanovic*, Constansia Musvoto, Willem De Clercq, Cou Pienaar, Brilliant Petja, Abdelaziz Zairi, Salia Hanafi, Tarek Ajmi, Jean Claude Mailhol, Bruno Cheviron, Rami Albasha, Solomon Habtu, Eyasu Yazew, Muluberhan Kifle, Degol Fissahaye, Gebremeskel Aregay, Kiros Habtegebreal, Abreha Gebrekiros, Yirga Woldu, Jochen Froebrich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Agriculture in developing countries will have to transform and increase production by an estimated 70% in order to meet demands by 2050. Although well-managed commercial farms offer little manoeuvring space for increasing agricultural water productivity, smallholder farms usually operate at low input costs and therefore provide ample opportunities to reduce the potential yield gap through agricultural intensification. The aim of this paper is to analyse and compare yields and water productivities obtained in field and modelling experiments in Ethiopia (maize, garlic, onion), South Africa (tomato) and Tunisia (tomato, potato, wheat). Innovative agricultural practices were introduced on smallholder farms: irrigation scheduling and NPS Zn fertilization in Ethiopia; high-yielding cultivar, drip irrigation, mulching and organic amendments in South Africa; and crop water modelling in Tunisia. In general, crop yields increased up to eight times with innovative practices compared to current conventional farming practices. Crop water productivities were fairly stable within the same experiments, but increased with innovations, indicating that intensive farming can be more environmentally sustainable than conventional farming. Intensive farming systems in a resource-rich environment (high radiation levels, relatively fertile, deep and well-drained soils), combined with technology transfer and capacity building could be seen as viable strategies to secure food for smallholders and communities in African rural areas, as well as to improve water utilization in water-scarce catchments.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIrrigation and Drainage
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2018

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small farms
smallholder
Tunisia
Ethiopia
South Africa
farm
productivity
intensive farming
water
farming systems
tomatoes
input costs
water utilization
agricultural intensification
crop
high-yielding varieties
mulching
drip irrigation
technology transfer
commercial farms

Keywords

  • Amendements organiques
  • Fertilization management
  • Gestion de la fertilisation
  • Irrigation scheduling
  • Modèle PILOTE
  • Mulching
  • Organic amendments
  • Paillis
  • PILOTE model
  • Planification de l'irrigation

Cite this

Jovanovic, Nebo ; Musvoto, Constansia ; De Clercq, Willem ; Pienaar, Cou ; Petja, Brilliant ; Zairi, Abdelaziz ; Hanafi, Salia ; Ajmi, Tarek ; Mailhol, Jean Claude ; Cheviron, Bruno ; Albasha, Rami ; Habtu, Solomon ; Yazew, Eyasu ; Kifle, Muluberhan ; Fissahaye, Degol ; Aregay, Gebremeskel ; Habtegebreal, Kiros ; Gebrekiros, Abreha ; Woldu, Yirga ; Froebrich, Jochen. / A Comparative Analysis of Yield Gaps and Water Productivity on Smallholder Farms in Ethiopia, South Africa and Tunisia. In: Irrigation and Drainage. 2018.
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title = "A Comparative Analysis of Yield Gaps and Water Productivity on Smallholder Farms in Ethiopia, South Africa and Tunisia",
abstract = "Agriculture in developing countries will have to transform and increase production by an estimated 70{\%} in order to meet demands by 2050. Although well-managed commercial farms offer little manoeuvring space for increasing agricultural water productivity, smallholder farms usually operate at low input costs and therefore provide ample opportunities to reduce the potential yield gap through agricultural intensification. The aim of this paper is to analyse and compare yields and water productivities obtained in field and modelling experiments in Ethiopia (maize, garlic, onion), South Africa (tomato) and Tunisia (tomato, potato, wheat). Innovative agricultural practices were introduced on smallholder farms: irrigation scheduling and NPS Zn fertilization in Ethiopia; high-yielding cultivar, drip irrigation, mulching and organic amendments in South Africa; and crop water modelling in Tunisia. In general, crop yields increased up to eight times with innovative practices compared to current conventional farming practices. Crop water productivities were fairly stable within the same experiments, but increased with innovations, indicating that intensive farming can be more environmentally sustainable than conventional farming. Intensive farming systems in a resource-rich environment (high radiation levels, relatively fertile, deep and well-drained soils), combined with technology transfer and capacity building could be seen as viable strategies to secure food for smallholders and communities in African rural areas, as well as to improve water utilization in water-scarce catchments.",
keywords = "Amendements organiques, Fertilization management, Gestion de la fertilisation, Irrigation scheduling, Mod{\`e}le PILOTE, Mulching, Organic amendments, Paillis, PILOTE model, Planification de l'irrigation",
author = "Nebo Jovanovic and Constansia Musvoto and {De Clercq}, Willem and Cou Pienaar and Brilliant Petja and Abdelaziz Zairi and Salia Hanafi and Tarek Ajmi and Mailhol, {Jean Claude} and Bruno Cheviron and Rami Albasha and Solomon Habtu and Eyasu Yazew and Muluberhan Kifle and Degol Fissahaye and Gebremeskel Aregay and Kiros Habtegebreal and Abreha Gebrekiros and Yirga Woldu and Jochen Froebrich",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "1",
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journal = "Irrigation and Drainage",
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Jovanovic, N, Musvoto, C, De Clercq, W, Pienaar, C, Petja, B, Zairi, A, Hanafi, S, Ajmi, T, Mailhol, JC, Cheviron, B, Albasha, R, Habtu, S, Yazew, E, Kifle, M, Fissahaye, D, Aregay, G, Habtegebreal, K, Gebrekiros, A, Woldu, Y & Froebrich, J 2018, 'A Comparative Analysis of Yield Gaps and Water Productivity on Smallholder Farms in Ethiopia, South Africa and Tunisia', Irrigation and Drainage. https://doi.org/10.1002/ird.2238

A Comparative Analysis of Yield Gaps and Water Productivity on Smallholder Farms in Ethiopia, South Africa and Tunisia. / Jovanovic, Nebo; Musvoto, Constansia; De Clercq, Willem; Pienaar, Cou; Petja, Brilliant; Zairi, Abdelaziz; Hanafi, Salia; Ajmi, Tarek; Mailhol, Jean Claude; Cheviron, Bruno; Albasha, Rami; Habtu, Solomon; Yazew, Eyasu; Kifle, Muluberhan; Fissahaye, Degol; Aregay, Gebremeskel; Habtegebreal, Kiros; Gebrekiros, Abreha; Woldu, Yirga; Froebrich, Jochen.

In: Irrigation and Drainage, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Jovanovic, Nebo

AU - Musvoto, Constansia

AU - De Clercq, Willem

AU - Pienaar, Cou

AU - Petja, Brilliant

AU - Zairi, Abdelaziz

AU - Hanafi, Salia

AU - Ajmi, Tarek

AU - Mailhol, Jean Claude

AU - Cheviron, Bruno

AU - Albasha, Rami

AU - Habtu, Solomon

AU - Yazew, Eyasu

AU - Kifle, Muluberhan

AU - Fissahaye, Degol

AU - Aregay, Gebremeskel

AU - Habtegebreal, Kiros

AU - Gebrekiros, Abreha

AU - Woldu, Yirga

AU - Froebrich, Jochen

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - Agriculture in developing countries will have to transform and increase production by an estimated 70% in order to meet demands by 2050. Although well-managed commercial farms offer little manoeuvring space for increasing agricultural water productivity, smallholder farms usually operate at low input costs and therefore provide ample opportunities to reduce the potential yield gap through agricultural intensification. The aim of this paper is to analyse and compare yields and water productivities obtained in field and modelling experiments in Ethiopia (maize, garlic, onion), South Africa (tomato) and Tunisia (tomato, potato, wheat). Innovative agricultural practices were introduced on smallholder farms: irrigation scheduling and NPS Zn fertilization in Ethiopia; high-yielding cultivar, drip irrigation, mulching and organic amendments in South Africa; and crop water modelling in Tunisia. In general, crop yields increased up to eight times with innovative practices compared to current conventional farming practices. Crop water productivities were fairly stable within the same experiments, but increased with innovations, indicating that intensive farming can be more environmentally sustainable than conventional farming. Intensive farming systems in a resource-rich environment (high radiation levels, relatively fertile, deep and well-drained soils), combined with technology transfer and capacity building could be seen as viable strategies to secure food for smallholders and communities in African rural areas, as well as to improve water utilization in water-scarce catchments.

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KW - Amendements organiques

KW - Fertilization management

KW - Gestion de la fertilisation

KW - Irrigation scheduling

KW - Modèle PILOTE

KW - Mulching

KW - Organic amendments

KW - Paillis

KW - PILOTE model

KW - Planification de l'irrigation

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M3 - Article

JO - Irrigation and Drainage

JF - Irrigation and Drainage

SN - 1531-0353

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