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Is small scale irrigation a valuable recourse to climate variability in the Sahel?

Author(s): Economic stochastic programming at the farm level
IWRA World Water Congress 2008 Montpellier France
3. Climate Change and Disasters
Author(s): Théophile Mandé
Bruno Barbier
Harouna Karambiri
Yacouba Hama

Keyword(s): simulation, risk, irrigation, climate variability, farm economics

AbstractRainfed agriculture is increasingly uncertain in the Sahel leading to low agricultural productivity and farmers’ discouragement. Most sahelian farmers cope with agricultural risk developing strategies through sale and purchase of grains and small ruminants, which a called recourses in microeconomics. Our objective in this study is to propose a method of evaluating the farm optimal plans under various scenarios of climate variability for farmers who possess both rainfed and small irrigation plots. The hypothesis is that usual recourses such grain management are insufficient to cope with droughts but that even very small irrigation plots have a more positive impact, especially on the production of the rainfed crops. We use stochastic programming with recourse to improve the analysis of farm management facing risk, which is an improvement compared to the common deterministic models. MonteCarlo simulation and Bender decomposition process help improve the mathematics behind farmers’ decision tree. The model was applied to a typical farm in the north of Burkina where extensive researches have been carried out on climate, agriculture and hydrology. The model takes into account several types of land, family labor, capital to invest and water to irrigate crops. The results help to evaluate the optimal plans under various climate scenarios. It shows under which conditions various mitigation strategies can improve rainfed production by reducing agricultural risk.
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