Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

STUDY: The Place of Crop Agriculture in the Drylands of the Horn of Africa: a threat or opportunity?

11 September 2013. The Place of Crop Agriculture in the Drylands of the Horn of Africa: a threat or opportunity?
This report (Michael Mortimore, June 2013, 53 pages) reviews available evidence concerning the potential for expansion of crop agriculture, as an alternative or complementary strategy to pastoralism, in arid and semi arid areas of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda (large and small scale irrigated and rain fed), in order to promote sustainable and resilient livelihoods. 

These are weighed against other livelihoods support options in order to inform REGLAP’s own advocacy position as well as those of Oxfam and other NGOs, especially around the IGAD-led Ending Drought Emergency (EDE) plans.Research gaps are also explored and means of filling them are suggested.

The study aims to inform government, NGOs, private sector partners and REGLAP (Regional Learning and Advocacy Programme for Vulnerable Dryland Communities) on the evidence base for policy and practice on development in pastoral regions of the Horn of Africa, with particular reference to small-scale irrigation. It argues that policies for dryland livelihoods should seek to integrate mobile and agro-pastoralism with small-scale irrigation and livelihood diversification. It foresees a significant transition to growth in the small-scale irrigated sector in dryland areas. 

Recommendations for good practice in small-scale irrigation in this context include: 
  • planning that recognises system interactions and reconciles contested claims to resources; 
  • freedom of choice regarding household livelihood strategies; 
  • recognising and realising the complementary benefits of livestock; 
  • fully participatory irrigation development and regulation; 
  • allowing for multi-sectoral livelihood strategies; 
  • action research and innovation relevant to small-scale production units; and vii) provision of economic incentives for micro-investments. 

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