Navigation path

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia

Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia


  

Published: 5 June 2015  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Agriculture & foodAgriculture
EnvironmentLand management
International cooperation
Special CollectionsEXPO 2015  |  Water
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Ethiopia  |  France  |  Mozambique  |  Netherlands  |  South Africa  |  Spain  |  Sri Lanka  |  Tunisia  |  United Kingdom  |  Zambia
Add to PDF "basket"

Achieving a sustainable future for African farming

Sustainable rural development can only be accomplished by empowering local people to participate in the development of new techniques themselves. In understanding the importance of irrigation for smallholder farmers, the EU-funded EAU4FOOD project has integrated locals within the innovation process.

Photo of irrigated fields
© Pascal06 - fotolia.com

“The uptake of research results is lacking in many parts of the world,” explains project coordinator Jochen Froebrich from Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands. “This is in particular severe when you consider that innovation in irrigation could improve agricultural productivity and might ensure a brighter future for farmers.”

This is why the EAU4FOOD project has involved all relevant stakeholders in the design, test and dissemination of new and effective soil and water management strategies. This, says Froebrich, will allow African farmers to increase food production while maximising soil fertility, and at the same time minimise pollution of fresh water reserves.

Making a difference on the ground

Since it began in July 2011, EAU4FOOD has focused on the needs of smallholder farmers. Study sites were purposely selected to represent Southern Africa (Mozambique and South-Africa), Northern Africa (Tunisia), West Africa (Mali) and East Africa (Ethiopia), to provide a baseline of usable data. From this, EAU4FOOD has been able to develop guidelines for achieving irrigated agriculture under a variety of water scarcity conditions.

“In South Africa, researchers have expounded different strategies to increase the yields for tomatoes at two cooperative farms, and have gradually introduced improved practices every season,” explains Froebrich. “Further works have been done to understand the regional limitations in water availability. But most importantly, tomatoes from the experiments have already been sold, and new ways to improve market access established.”

In Ethiopia, several innovations have been tested to tackle crop pests and improve soil fertility. For example, the project has evaluated the response of onion and garlic to nitrogen, phosphorus and zinc additions from manure, with farmers providing feedback. Here the success of the project triggered additional governmental support to tackle the maintenance of irrigation infrastructure. In Mozambique, management strategies to address issues of salinity, resilience to flood damage and the use of compost for soil fertility management have been investigated.

At the Mali site, where rice is the most important crop, the challenge has been to mitigate declining soil fertility and increase access to markets. Farmers have reorganised the maintenance of irrigation canals and improved water management practices. In Tunisia, the project has focused on the issue of soil degradation in cereal production as well as on adapted crop rotations.

The benefits of inclusion

Through addressing these local concerns, EAU4FOOD – scheduled for completion in June 2015 – aims to help solve some of the enormous challenges African agriculture faces. Innovation and inclusion have been central to the project’s approach, and EAU4FOOD has proposed what is called the ‘Green Wheel Approach’ to involve all stakeholders, including farmers, water managers, retailers, policy makers and NGOs.

“We have gained experience of how inclusion can make the difference,” says Froebrich. “We have developed innovations together with local farming communities, and involved them in a process to come up with new practices and new ideas. The next step must be to involve different stakeholder communities in participatory regional planning, and to define priorities for developing land and water resources.”

EAU4Food is expected to have a significant positive impact on agricultural production at farm level for many years to come, and on wider policy processes at national and trans-national levels.

Project details

  • Project acronym:EAU4FOOD
  • Participants:Netherlands (Coordinator), Mali, Zambia, South Africa, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, France, UK, Spain, Mozambique
  • Project Reference N° 265471
  • Total cost: €4 941 145,4
  • EU contribution: €3 994 856
  • Duration:July 2011 - June 2015

See also

 

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

Project web site

Project details

Contacts
Unit A1 - External & internal communication,
Directorate-General for Research & Innovation,
European Commission
Tel : +32 2 298 45 40
  Top   Research Information Center