The possibility of a rice green revolution in large-scale irrigation schemes in Sub-Saharan Africa

This paper investigates the potential of and constraints to a rice Green Revolution in Sub-Saharan Africa’s large-scale irrigation schemes, using data from Uganda, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, and Senegal. The authors find that adequate irrigation, chemical fertilizer, and labor inputs are the key to high productivity. Chemical fertilizer is expensive in Uganda and Mozambique and is barely used. This is aggravated when water access is limited because of the complementarities between fertilizer and irrigation. Meanwhile, in the schemes located in four countries in West Africa’s Sahel region, where water access is generally good and institutional support for chemical fertilizer exists, rice farmers achieve attractive yields. Some countries’ wage rate is high and thus mechanization could be one solution for this constraint. Improvement of credit access also facilitates the purchase of expensive fertilizer or the employment of hired labor.

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