Evaluating Irrigation Investments in Malawi: Economy-Wide Impacts under Uncertainty
Franziska Schuenemann1, James Thurlow2, Stefan Meyer3, Richard Robertson2, Joao Rodrigues2, Manfred Zeller1
1University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics (Hans-Ruthenberg-Institute), Germany
Africa is rapidly becoming the developing region where food insecurity and extreme poverty are concentrated, making irrigation crucial to increase crop yields and mitigate effects from climate change. However, there is still very little irrigation use despite a large potential in terms of water resources. One reason for this is that returns are often too low to cover the costs of infrastructure investment, because the various impact channels are not considered. Benefits from irrigation arise directly at the household level and indirectly from multiplier effects on the rest of the economy. Higher agricultural productivity and higher cropping intensity directly increase incomes and economy-wide output. Through minimising risks from weather variability, irrigation reduces vulnerability to climate change. In addition, agronomic linkages through the interaction between water and nutrients determine the profitability of irrigation. While irrigation studies have examined one or more impact channels, an assessment and decomposition of the combined benefits is still missing.
Keywords: Africa, climate change, food security, irrigation, poverty
Contact Address: Franziska Schuenemann, University of Hohenheim, Inst. of Agricultural Sciences in the Tropics (Hans-Ruthenberg-Institute), Wollgrasweg 43, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany, e-mail: franziska.schuenemannuni-hohenheim.de