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Ground water
Low quality water
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Rainfed systems management and potential

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CA framing question: What are the options for better management of rainwater to support rural livelihoods and land rehabilitation in water-scarce areas?

Rainfed agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, central Europe and Australia contributes to 90 percent of the total cereal production of these regions. Similar patterns are observed in Central and South America. However, in many countries, productivity remains low due to less than optimal rainfall characteristics, unfavorable land conditions and lack of proper management of these resources. Many poor people live in marginal areas dependent on rainfed agriculture. Increasing productivity of rainfed areas could increase food security, improve livelihoods, and reduce the need for more irrigation. The CA aims to explore rainfed agriculture contributes to food and environmental security and assess promising approaches to sustainable improvements in rainfed productivity considering soil-water conservation, agronomic aspects, supplemental irrigation of rainfed crops, water harvesting to supplement rain, conjunctive use of rainwater and other water sources, germplasm, drought alleviation, land-use changes and cross-cutting issues such as socioeconomic, institutional and policy issues.

CA purpose: To convey the most important messages from the field of rainfed agriculture to the water, food & environment communities.

Key issues


  • What are the most important (and underrated?) trends and underlying processes with respect to rainfed systems, their role in water management for agriculture and supporting livelihoods & environment?
  • What are the most promising options available to boost the potential of rainfed systems involving better water management, and thereby improving the systems’ productivity and livelihood support? 

A participatory writing process

The CA is designed as a learning process, engaging networks of stakeholders to produce knowledge synthesis. The chapter writing team favour a regular consultation while writing their synthesis chapter.

To know more about the rainfed chapter preparation process [ca forum- rainfed]