Economic and food security effects of small-scale irrigation technologies in northern Ghana
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2019 Elsevier B.V. Small-scale irrigation (SSI) technologies can be useful not only to increase crop productivity and income but also as a viable adaptation practice to climate variability. A farm simulation model (FARMSIM) and data from selected SSI technologies piloted in northern Ghana under the Feed the Future-Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation (ILSSI) project were used to assess the economic feasibility of the SSI technologies and their potential to improve income and nutrition of smallholder farm households. Three dry season irrigated crops (onion, corchorus, amaranthus) grown under three agricultural water management regimes were analysed. Results show that adoption of the SSI technologies could increase the net farm profit by 154%608% against the baseline depending on the crop type - SSI technology combination. Nutrition levels also improved significantly as a result of the improvements in crop yields due to irrigation and use of complementary inputs. However, the results further reveal that the options that utilize capital-intensive SSI technologies such as solar-powered water pumps to grow high value cash crops are constrained by the high investment cost. Currently, farmers tend to choose low-cost SSI technologies such as a traditional watering-cans, which generate low economic returns. Improving access to credit or alternative financing schemes could mitigate the capital constraints and enable smallholders to gain more benefits from participating in market-oriented high-value irrigated production.