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

Biography

Florian Diekmann

Florian Diekmann

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

Biography

Cecile Godde

Cecile Godde

Research Scientist, CSIRO

Biography

Meha Jain

Meha Jain

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

Biography

Ellen McCullough

Ellen McCullough

Assistant Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia

Biography

Zia Mehrabi

Zia Mehrabi

Research Associate, University of British Columbia

Biography

Nicola Randall

Nicola Randall

Director, Centre for Evidence Based Agriculture, Harper Adams University

Biography

Tim Schoepke

Tim Schoepke

Reference librarian, National Agricultural Library

Biography

Balsher Singh Sidhu

Balsher Singh Sidhu

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

Biography

Divya Solomon

Divya Solomon

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

Biography

Abdrahmane Wane

Abdrahmane Wane

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

Biography

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).

Ceres 2030 is a partnership between Cornell IP-CALS,  the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and the  International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD)

On-farm interventions

Author team, question, protocol

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

Author team

Vincent Ricciardi

Vincent Ricciardi

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

Biography

Florian Diekmann

Florian Diekmann

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

Biography

Cecile Godde

Cecile Godde

Research Scientist, CSIRO

Biography

Meha Jain

Meha Jain

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

Biography

Menale Kassie

Menale Kassie

Head, Social Science and Impact Assessment Unit, ICIPE

Biography

Ellen McCullough

Ellen McCullough

Assistant Professor, Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia

Biography

Zia Mehrabi

Zia Mehrabi

Research Associate, University of British Columbia

Biography

Nicola Randall

Nicola Randall

Director, Centre for Evidence Based Agriculture, Harper Adams University

Biography

Tim Schoepke

Tim Schoepke

Reference librarian, National Agricultural Library

Biography

Balsher Singh Sidhu

Balsher Singh Sidhu

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

Biography

Abdrahmane Wane

Abdrahmane Wane

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

Biography

Evidence synthesis question

What is the spectrum of farm-level interventions that contribute to increased incomes and productivity in water-scarce regions?

Background

This review will provide an overview of on-farm interventions that are appropriate for water-scarce communities. Both short and long-term drought create conditions of water-scarcity for farmers, and successful introduction of on-farm interventions requires attenuation to crop, agro ecological zone, farm size, and current on-farm conditions. This work uses a ‘systematic map’ approach. A systematic map provides a spectrum-look of what evidence exists, where it seems particularly strong, and where we lack research. Using this approach, we can cross-reference dimensions such as farm-size and gender in order to explore heterogeneity of why some interventions fail and others succeed.

Protocol

Ceres 2030 is a partnership between Cornell IP-CALS,  the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and the  International Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD)