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Wageningen University (2012)

Rainwater harvesting for dryland agriculture in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia

Temesgen, B.B.

Titre : Rainwater harvesting for dryland agriculture in the Rift Valley of Ethiopia

Auteur : Temesgen, B.B.

Université de soutenance : Wageningen University

Grade : PhD thesis 2012

Résumé partiel
The Ethiopian drylands occupy about 65% of the total land mass (close to 700,000km2) of the country. The predominantly rainfed agriculture in these drylands is highly constrained due to erratic rainfall, long dry-spells and excessive loss of rainwater through non-productive pathways (surface runoff, evaporation and deep drainage). Apart from this, deteriorated dryland soils have low infiltration and water holding capacity, shallow depths and are sensitive to crusting. Therefore, to keep in pace with the demand for food for the burgeoning population, the Ethiopian drylands should be made more productive through appropriate rainwater harvesting and management techniques. Therefore, the objective of this study was to develop appropriate rainwater harvesting and management techniques in the Central Rift Valley (CRV) drylands of Ethiopia through a participatory planning and development process. Primarily, an overview of the various rainwater harvesting and management techniques in sub-Saharan Africa was made. Moreover, the biophysical performances and socioeconomic implications of the most common practices were synthesized. The sub-Saharan Africa is actually the birthplace of a range of indigenous rainwater harvesting and management (RWHM) techniques. The micro-catchment and in situ RWHM techniques are more commonly applied than the macro-catchment techniques for supplemental irrigation on farm lands. Depending on rainfall patterns and local soil characteristics, appropriate application of in-situ and micro-catchment techniques could improve the soil water content of the rooting zone by up to 30%. Smart combinations of rainwater harvesting and soil improvements enable to increase crop yields by 200-600% as compared to the traditional farming without them. Following the implementation of rainwater harvesting techniques, the cereal-based smallholder farmers could shift to diversified crops, hence improving household food security, dietary status, and economic return.

Mots clés : dry farming - rainfed agriculture - water harvesting - soil physics - ploughing - water conservation - land use - participation - ethiopia

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Page publiée le 20 mai 2012, mise à jour le 29 mai 2022