Reducing poverty in sub-Saharan Africa through investments in water and other priorities
AbstractWater resources are essential to human development processes and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals that seek, inter alia, to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal literacy, and ensure environmental sustainability. Expanding irrigation is essential to increase agricultural production, which is needed to achieve economic development and attain food security in much of sub-Saharan Africa. Water resources and irrigated agriculture are not developed to their full potential. Currently less than 4% of renewable water resources in Africa are withdrawn for agriculture. Barriers include the lack of financial and human resources to build irrigation and related rural infrastructure and acquire agricultural technology, and inadequate access to markets. This constrains progress towards poverty reduction. We examine the linkages between agricultural water, education, markets and rural poverty through a review of published studies. We argue that, linking agricultural water, education, and market interventions, which are so often implemented separately, would generate more effective poverty reduction and hunger eradication programs. Investments in agricultural water management and complementary rural infrastructure and related policies are the pathways to break the poverty trap in smallholder African agriculture.
Irrigation Agricultural productivity Poverty reduction Farmer education Rural infrastructure