Transforming Investments in African Rainfed Agriculture
To ensure food security, Africa needs investments in rainfed agriculture. This is a cost-effective approach to improving agricultural productivity, climate resilience and building sustainable livelihoods
Africa is one of the two driest continents on earth with ongoing desertification and increasing population pressure rapidly reducing the available arable land per capita. Nearly 95 per cent of Africa’s agricultural land is rainfed and accounts for close to 80 per cent of staple food production. Yet only 5 per cent of public agricultural water investments support rainfed agriculture.
The opportunity of rainfed agriculture
Rainfed agriculture depends on infiltrated rainfall water which is stored in the upper layers of the soil and is available to plant roots. This is called green water. Capturing and maintaining soil moisture is the key to productive rainfed agriculture. Water capture increases water availability by reducing rainwater runoff and groundwater seepage, while water storage reduces evaporation.