Water-scarce solutions

What interventions improve farm income and productivity while tackling water scarcity?

Photo: Jervis Sundays, Kenya Red Cross Society, via USAID.

How can we farm without degrading our soil and depleting our water? And farm in a way that increases productivity so that we meet the Sustainable Development Goal of “zero hunger” by 2030? Short-term gains in productivity without care for their environmental impact will quickly—and literally—turn to dust. This is why farmers face an urgent need to adopt sustainable agricultural practices that match the need for increased productivity with the need to preserve soil and water for future generations.

There is no way to do this without buy-in from farmers, especially small-scale producers. Often among the most vulnerable households in the most vulnerable parts of the world, they are the major contributors to the food supply—and the key to ending hunger. Farmers know their land in a way that no one else can, and interventions cannot succeed if farmers don’t understand them and embrace them.

This evidence synthesis looks at the most promising incentives for farmers to adopt new practices addressing water scarcity, a problem that confronts farmers around the world from Nepal to Nigeria to the U.S. state of Nebraska.

Research team

Vincent Ricciardi

Vincent Ricciardi

Lead author, Ph.D. candidate in Resource Management and Environmental Studies, UBC

Florian Diekmann

Florian Diekmann

Head, Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Library, The Ohio State University

Cecile Godde

Cecile Godde

Research Scientist, CSIRO

Meha Jain

Meha Jain

Assistant Professor, School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan

Ellen McCullough

Ellen McCullough

Assistant Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia

Zia Mehrabi

Zia Mehrabi

Research Associate, University of British Columbia

Nicola Randall

Nicola Randall

Director, Centre for Evidence Based Agriculture, Harper Adams University

Tim Schoepke

Tim Schoepke

Reference librarian, National Agricultural Library

Balsher Singh Sidhu

Balsher Singh Sidhu

Ph.D. candidate, Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability, UBC

Divya Solomon

Divya Solomon

Ph.D. candidate, Resource, Policy, and Behavior, University of Michigan Ann Arbor

Abdrahmane Wane

Abdrahmane Wane

Senior Development Economist, Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, Kenya

Research protocol

The full details of the the protocol for this evidence synthesis are available on the OSF open platform run by the Center for Open Science.

 

This is one of eight evidence syntheses selected by Ceres2030 to help decision-makers choose the best interventions to achieve the UN's Sustainability Development Goal of "Zero Hunger" by 2030 (SDG 2).