Sustainable food production through irrigated intensive farming systems in West Africa (SIFA)


Start date: 12 December, 2009 End date: 12 December, 2013 Project type: Larger strategic projects (prior to 2013) Project code: 09-047LIFE Countries: Ghana Thematic areas: Agricultural production, Lead institution: University of Copenhagen (UCPH), Denmark Partner institutions: Aarhus University (AU), Denmark University of Ghana (UG), Ghana University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Denmark Project coordinator: Henrik Breuning-Madsen Total grant: 5,227,371 DKK

Project summary

The SIFA project aims at developing irrigated high-value vegetable cropping systems in Southwest Africa that are "climate proof". This will be accomplished by introducing water saving drip irrigation systems and new round-the-year cropping systems that secure higher cash flow and income for farmers. Scientific research to test the new systems will be carried out in cooperation between Danish universities and University of Ghana promoting education of PhD and MSc-students trained in methods of applied hydrology, crop science, environmental protection and participatory research approaches by Danish and Ghanaian researchers. Scientific papers, PhD and MSc theses completed by the Ghanaian students and researchers will outline the technical, economic and environmental feasibility and potential of the new drip irrigation based systems for saving water, protecting the aquatic environment and stimulating rural business opportunities, education and employment of young people. As agriculture is the largest sector, and irrigation the most important crop growth factor, there is a very large unrealised economic potential. Dissemination material will be produced describing how the local farmers can apply the new systems. Also material will be worked out on how the new technology platform may be applied broadly in West Africa. Its role and importance for the Ghanaian Poverty Reduction Strategy will be outlined as currently less than 0.5% of the irrigation potential is realized in Ghana.


Project Completion Report:
The outeome of the project was:
- Drip irrigation has saved 30% water, decreased the P-load and obtained higher yield compared to the traditional horticultural system, -Differences in the susceptibility to heat stress with regard to flower/fruit drop has been identified between a collection of mdigenous and exotic tomato cultivars, Imported heat tolerant tomate cultivars are now used by the local .farmers and they can now grow tomato all the year.
-The soils fixate P mainly as Ca-phosphate and leaching of P to the Keta lagoon is neglectable. The Keta soils act as carbon sinks which is positive according to global change.
- The ecology of the Keta Lagoon is threatened by nutrient from the sand spit (household, farming) and overfishing.
-The socioeconomic studies showed that the farmers in general see potentials of using drip irrigation but salinity and land fragmentation are important hindrance for new investments and changes of irrigation practice.

Scientifically, the Sifa project has produced 4 Ph.D.-theses and 3 M.Sc-theses, 6 papers in international journals and 6 conference papers. Several papers are submitted or in preparation.

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