V6: Supporting investment decisions in water and land management across the rural-urban continuum in the Volta - Niger focal region

A number of agricultural water management (AWM) and resource recovery & reuse (RRR) solutions for improved agricultural productivity have been proposed and technically verified in the Volta-Niger region, especially in Ghana and Burkina Faso. However, their effectiveness in terms of multiple ecosystem services delivery, environmental health, adoption factors and returns on investment (RoI) are largely unknown and the potential of some interventions might be over- or undervalued. Therefore, this project will assess the effectiveness, adoptability and returns on investment (RoI) of some of these solutions, using ecosystems approach, to draw lessons and recommendations for their scaling up and business feasibility potential. Selected interventions target improvement in water and/or land productivity through agricultural intensification across the rural-urban as well as the rainfed-irrigation continuum. Four specific interventions have been selected for analysis: (1) Small water infrastructure (SWI) for small holder irrigation; (2 Drip irrigation; (3) Safe and productive water reuse; and (4) Nutrient and organic matter recovery from waste. While these interventions have previously been considered independently at IWMI as AWM solutions or RRR solutions, this project undertakes a holistic analysis using ecosystem-based approach. We will analyse the economic and environmental effects of these interventions - alone and in combination - in the landscape by mapping ecosystem services, assessing their benefits and trade-offs as well as addressing gender and equity issues and the potential of these interventions in poverty alleviation and ecosystem health. We will apply three analytical modules which will provide our next users including government agencies, development partners and private sectors some information and evidence that could support their investment decisions. The three analytical modules include: (1) Assessment of the potential changes in the delivery of ecosystem services (2) Assessment of the attitudes and perceptions on constraints/barriers and opportunities of adoption/out-scaling of the interventions by different stakeholders and for selected geographical areas of interest to government and regional donor community. (3) Analysis and proposition of ‘business models’ for up- or out-scaling of the selected interventions beyond conventional donor support to ensure sustainability. For module 1, data will be collected from past and ongoing projects and include secondary data (e.g. productivity and livelihood data) and where needed primary data (e.g., ecosystems mapping and valuation). For module 2 gender differentiated qualitative data will be collected. For module 3 we will develop cost-benefit analysis targeting key sectors of intervention (different crops, different places of production (rural, peri urban), different commodity value chain), (incl. secondary impacts or spill-overs) for a business model analysis of the selected technologies for different agricultural systems. Our general approach will be multi-disciplinary and ecosystem-based where multiple ecosystem services will be examined. The project will produce investment guides and policy briefs to be used by the next users listed above. Investment guides help promote efficient and effective interventions that restore the environment, increase agricultural productivity, and food security. Policy briefs focused on gender and equity issues influence policy makers in gender and equity related decision-making process. The project will involve about 12 graduate students from our partner universities thereby contributing to regional capacity building.