In sub-Saharan Africa irrigation is not widespread covering only 7% of the total cultivated area of 183 million hectares. This is by far the lowest proportion of irrigation anywhere in the world.

Investment is badly needed, but careful planning is essential:

  • Investment should be increased both in irrigation and in other agricultural water management methods, using a full range of options from large to small-scale infrastructure.
  • Investments need to be targeted to ensure that benefits reach the poor, especially women.
  • The relationship between irrigation and the ecosystems services that farm landscapes provide needs to be taken into account