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Newcastle University (2015)

Water harvesting for crop production :exploring adoption and use in Burkina Faso from a livelihoods perspectives

Bunclark, Lisa Annita

Titre : Water harvesting for crop production :exploring adoption and use in Burkina Faso from a livelihoods perspectives

Auteur : Bunclark, Lisa Annita

Université de soutenance : Newcastle University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2015

Résumé
Research conducted over the past decade has highlighted the potential for improvements to rainfed agriculture and water productivity through the use of water harvesting, particularly for small-scale farmers in developing countries. However, empirical evidence indicates that projected adoption rates and hence crop yield and livelihood improvements have not been realised. This research argues that low adoption levels can be explained by the lack of emphasis on the context within which the technologies are placed by researchers and developmental organisations that promote them. This research uses an extended sustainable rural livelihoods approach to investigate the factors that support or constrain households’ abilities to benefit from the potential productivity increases offered by water harvesting. A livelihoods perspective is adopted to explore the similarities and differences in opportunities and constraints between different types of farmers both across and within households. Data presented here were collected during two extended periods of fieldwork in Burkina Faso, West Africa, during 2012 and 2013. An in-depth household level study was conducted across three case study villages, complemented by focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Insights demonstrate that livelihood choices, behaviours and priorities, asset access and control, risk context and utilisation of agricultural production are vital considerations in the assessment of the ability of water harvesting to increase agricultural productivity and/or improve livelihoods for any particular individual, household or community. The influence of these factors on benefits of adoption varies with wealth, gender and age at household level, with female farmers likely to experience the greatest constraints to production and livelihood improvements within households. This research argues that there is great potential to increase the crop and livelihood impact of water harvesting, particularly in poorer households and for women across all households, if a more holistic innovation systems approach is taken to their design and implementation.

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