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The role of rainfed agriculture in securing food production in the Nile Basin

Siderius, C., Van Walsum, P.E.V., Roest, C.W.J., Smit, A.A.M.F.R., Hellegers, P.J.G.J., Kabat, P. and Van Ierland, E.C. (2016) The role of rainfed agriculture in securing food production in the Nile Basin. Environmental Science and Policy, 61. pp. 14-23. ISSN 1462-9011

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.envsci.2016.03.007


A better use of land and water resources will be necessary to meet the increasing demand for food in the Nile basin. Using a hydro-economic model along the storyline of three future political cooperation scenarios, we show that the future of food production in the Basin lies not in the expansion of intensively irrigated areas and the disputed reallocation of water, but in utilizing the vast forgotten potential of rainfed agriculture in the upstream interior, with supplemental irrigation where needed. Our results indicate that rainfed agriculture can cover more than 75% of the needed increase in food production by the year 2025. Many of the most suitable regions for rainfed agriculture in the Nile basin, however, have been destabilized by recent war and civil unrest. Stabilizing those regions and strengthening intra-basin cooperation via food trade seem to be better strategies than unilateral expansion of upstream irrigation, as the latter will reduce hydropower generation and relocate, rather than increase, food production.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.
Divisions: Grantham Research Institute
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Date Deposited: 29 Apr 2016 10:48
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:16
Funders: Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs

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