The role of rainfed agriculture in securing food production in the Nile Basin

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8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A better use of land and water resources will be necessary to meet the increasing demand for food in the Nile basin. Using a hydro-economic model along the storyline of three future political cooperation scenarios, we show that the future of food production in the Basin lies not in the expansion of intensively irrigated areas and the disputed reallocation of water, but in utilizing the vast forgotten potential of rainfed agriculture in the upstream interior, with supplemental irrigation where needed. Our results indicate that rainfed agriculture can cover more than 75% of the needed increase in food production by the year 2025. Many of the most suitable regions for rainfed agriculture in the Nile basin, however, have been destabilized by recent war and civil unrest. Stabilizing those regions and strengthening intra-basin cooperation via food trade seem to be better strategies than unilateral expansion of upstream irrigation, as the latter will reduce hydropower generation and relocate, rather than increase, food production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-23
JournalEnvironmental Science & Policy
Volume61
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Fingerprint

rainfed agriculture
food production
agriculture
food
basin
irrigation
water
hydropower
economic model
water resource
scenario
economics
demand
resources
co-operation

Keywords

  • Food security
  • Nile basin
  • Rainfed agriculture
  • Water allocations
  • Water dispute

Cite this

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title = "The role of rainfed agriculture in securing food production in the Nile Basin",
abstract = "A better use of land and water resources will be necessary to meet the increasing demand for food in the Nile basin. Using a hydro-economic model along the storyline of three future political cooperation scenarios, we show that the future of food production in the Basin lies not in the expansion of intensively irrigated areas and the disputed reallocation of water, but in utilizing the vast forgotten potential of rainfed agriculture in the upstream interior, with supplemental irrigation where needed. Our results indicate that rainfed agriculture can cover more than 75{\%} of the needed increase in food production by the year 2025. Many of the most suitable regions for rainfed agriculture in the Nile basin, however, have been destabilized by recent war and civil unrest. Stabilizing those regions and strengthening intra-basin cooperation via food trade seem to be better strategies than unilateral expansion of upstream irrigation, as the latter will reduce hydropower generation and relocate, rather than increase, food production.",
keywords = "Food security, Nile basin, Rainfed agriculture, Water allocations, Water dispute",
author = "C. Siderius and {Van Walsum}, P.E.V. and C.W.J. Roest and A.A.M.F.R. Smit and P.J.G.J. Hellegers and P. Kabat and {Van Ierland}, E.C.",
year = "2016",
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TY - JOUR

T1 - The role of rainfed agriculture in securing food production in the Nile Basin

AU - Siderius, C.

AU - Van Walsum, P.E.V.

AU - Roest, C.W.J.

AU - Smit, A.A.M.F.R.

AU - Hellegers, P.J.G.J.

AU - Kabat, P.

AU - Van Ierland, E.C.

PY - 2016

Y1 - 2016

N2 - A better use of land and water resources will be necessary to meet the increasing demand for food in the Nile basin. Using a hydro-economic model along the storyline of three future political cooperation scenarios, we show that the future of food production in the Basin lies not in the expansion of intensively irrigated areas and the disputed reallocation of water, but in utilizing the vast forgotten potential of rainfed agriculture in the upstream interior, with supplemental irrigation where needed. Our results indicate that rainfed agriculture can cover more than 75% of the needed increase in food production by the year 2025. Many of the most suitable regions for rainfed agriculture in the Nile basin, however, have been destabilized by recent war and civil unrest. Stabilizing those regions and strengthening intra-basin cooperation via food trade seem to be better strategies than unilateral expansion of upstream irrigation, as the latter will reduce hydropower generation and relocate, rather than increase, food production.

AB - A better use of land and water resources will be necessary to meet the increasing demand for food in the Nile basin. Using a hydro-economic model along the storyline of three future political cooperation scenarios, we show that the future of food production in the Basin lies not in the expansion of intensively irrigated areas and the disputed reallocation of water, but in utilizing the vast forgotten potential of rainfed agriculture in the upstream interior, with supplemental irrigation where needed. Our results indicate that rainfed agriculture can cover more than 75% of the needed increase in food production by the year 2025. Many of the most suitable regions for rainfed agriculture in the Nile basin, however, have been destabilized by recent war and civil unrest. Stabilizing those regions and strengthening intra-basin cooperation via food trade seem to be better strategies than unilateral expansion of upstream irrigation, as the latter will reduce hydropower generation and relocate, rather than increase, food production.

KW - Food security

KW - Nile basin

KW - Rainfed agriculture

KW - Water allocations

KW - Water dispute

U2 - 10.1016/j.envsci.2016.03.007

DO - 10.1016/j.envsci.2016.03.007

M3 - Article

VL - 61

SP - 14

EP - 23

JO - Environmental Science & Policy

JF - Environmental Science & Policy

SN - 1462-9011

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