Water-Wise: Smart Irrigation Strategies for Africa

Africa is seeing a surge of interest in irrigation among small-scale farmers as climate change brings more erratic weather. Currently, only 6 percent of arable land in Africa is irrigated, compared to 14 and 37 percent in Latin America and Asia respectively.

At the same time, a growing population across the continent demands more, reliable and continuous supply of food. It is estimated that without additional investment in irrigation, the share of people at risk of hunger could increase by 5 percent by 2030 and 12 percent by 2050. Elevating irrigation to a top policy priority and bringing irrigation to scale could help ensure the continent’s food security in the face of more extreme weather conditions and be an engine of agricultural transformation.

The Malabo Montpellier Panel’s report, Water-Wise: Smart Irrigation Strategies for Africa, summarizes the key findings of a systematic analysis of what six African countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Niger and South Africa – at the forefront of progress on irrigation have done right. The report has identified a set of policies and practices which, if brought to scale, could significantly improve the resilience and livelihoods of rural communities and spur overall agricultural growth and transformation in Africa. By adapting these lessons to countries’ specific contexts and scaling them up across the continent, African governments can meet their national and international commitments to agricultural growth and transformation.

Download the report here.