Project Profile

Water profitability analysis: towards less water consuming crops-suitability for smallholders’ fields with surface irrigation in the Nile Delta

Duration : December 15, 2019 - December 15, 2020
(Extended to September 30, 2020)

Climate change can have a severe impact on agricultural sector and stability of food security in Egypt. Crop production will be affected negatively due to the expected increases in temperature, extreme weather events, drought, plant diseases, and pests. Also, the land use will be affected due seawater intrusion and salinization. Water resources will be affected due to global warming and decreases in precipitation. Moreover, crop water requirements are expected to increase. The compound effect of all these components represents the main challenge for researchers, moreover the current cropping systems have to be changed to comply with future demands with regard to the growing population and the threat of climate change. The negative impacts of climate change on agricultural crops can be reduced by the implementation of integrated farm-level adaptation strategies, starting with adopting changes in seed varieties, planting dates, rationalize the use of water and fertilizers, and changing irrigation intervals In addition, the SDGs 1, 2 and 6, that are promoting sustainable agricultural practices, ending poverty and water use efficiency need greater efforts and resources at the country level to ensure an even and equal achievement of targets. Therefore, some efforts are required to face these challenges towards more investments in agricultural and food system and adapting sustainable alternatives crops under the impact of water scarcity and climate change. To rationalize the use of resources in agricultural production system in Egypt, there is a need to understand: • the agricultural system (crops) and its related costs, returns and profitability and • socio-economic and market factors of the main crops and alternative crops (less water consuming) and • farming system in Egypt including the potential of water-saving These are essential factors to mitigate all the above-mentioned challenges. There are number of national strategic crops in Egypt’s agriculture that will be analyzed as minimum in this study such as (cotton, maize, potatoes, rice, and wheat) within the delta region. These crops have been selected due to their importance in terms of the cultivated area, food insecurity, economy and employment in Egypt. Hence, to take part in alleviating the situation in Egypt, more information on main and alternative crops profitability and its values in comparison to world (similar countries) and region practices is essential to inform policy maker and main importantly to educate farmers and support social acceptances. Therefore, the objective of this project is to evaluate the average water profitability of alternative crops (less water consuming crops) in comparison to the strategic main crops in Egypt, to inform policymakers taking into account the international and regional best practices.

Location(s): Egypt
Project Contact: Elmahdi, Amgad
Donor(s): GIZ

Farmers cultivating lettuce, while another farmer digs a small canal (marwa) with a donkey, Egypt. Photo: cc: Hamish John Appleby/IWMI

Innovation bundles

Farmer-led irrigation development is about much more than installing a pump in a field. It requires access to financing, labor, energy, and input and output markets, so that investments in irrigation translate into sustainable returns. IWMI uses a systemic approach to understand the farming system as well as the factors in the enabling environment that prevent women, men and youth from engaging in and benefitting equitably from farmer-led irrigation. We partner with farmers and the public and private sectors to test contextually relevant innovation bundles that combine irrigation technology such as solar pumps with financing mechanisms like pay-as-you-own or pay-as-you-go, agricultural inputs and agronomic techniques. We also look at ways to improve on-farm water management and nutrient use efficiency and reduce evapotranspiration through digital advances and agricultural extension. We integrate the scaling of innovation bundles into agricultural value chains to enhance the impacts on farmers’ irrigation investments, incomes and livelihoods.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, Health & Food Security Climate Adaptation and Mitigation

Gender and social inclusion

The barriers facing women and men in accessing irrigation technologies are not the same. Neither are the benefits. Social, cultural and religious norms influence inter- and intra-household power relations. These, in turn, affect access to resources such as land, credit, information and training. IWMI carries out cross-dimensional analysis of gender and social inclusion in policy, financing, livelihood assets and access, institutional approaches and interventions as well as gender-based technology preferences. For example, we work with farmers, financial institutions and the private sector to address gender-based constraints in credit scoring and enhance women’s purchasing power. But benefitting from farmer-led irrigation does not stop at accessing and adopting technologies; enabling women and resource-poor farmers to participate in input and output markets is equally important to ensure that investments in irrigation result in improved nutrition and economic empowerment. Other ways we enhance gender and social inclusion include tackling agency issues around financial management and literacy, livelihood diversity and social capital as well as access to infrastructure, extension services and market linkages.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion

Environmental sustainability

Population pressure and increasing water competition in a changing climate require us to take stock of the availability and use of water across scales. Water availability not only influences farmers’ commercial prospects but also irrigation-related enterprises and agri-businesses. Greater water scarcity could jeopardize irrigation and agricultural markets while excessive water use can lead to declining ecosystems, water quality and soil health. IWMI advises development partners and the public and private sectors on all aspects of water resource availability and use through a variety of advanced modeling and remote-sensing products and tools, including Water Accounting+solar irrigation mapping and internet of things. These are complemented by multi-criteria analysis to evaluate the potential of irrigation expansion, taking into consideration environmental flows. With our private sector partners, we are leveraging converging technologies, such as sensors on solar pumps that capture usage data, to encourage better resource management and governance.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Environmental health and biodiversity

Adaptive scaling and partnerships

The ability of farmers to engage in or expand irrigation depends on the prevailing socioeconomic, ecological and political contexts, which are often complex, non-linear and changeable. Overcoming systemic barriers to farmer-led irrigation development while taking advantage of existing opportunities requires scaling processes to be adaptive. This means diverse actors feed off, adapt to, support, cooperate, compete and interact with each other, forming different multi-actor networks and engaging in collective action to undertake various functions in the scaling ecosystem. IWMI works with farmers and public and private sector partners to co-design and pilot contextually relevant innovation bundles and their scaling pathways or strategies, influence policies and accelerate the transition to scale of innovations with demonstrated early impact.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

Financing ecosystem

A lack of affordable credit, particularly for women and resource-poor farmers, is one of the main barriers to expanding farmer-led irrigation in low- and middle-income countries. But credit alone is not enough. Financing for irrigation equipment must be embedded in a wider financing ecosystem that bundles credit with inputs and services, market information and access, and technology such as digital payment. In several countries, irrigation equipment suppliers are stepping in to provide financing directly to farmers. In doing so, they increase their own risk. To address this issue, IWMI works with farmers, private companies, finance institutions and development partners such as the World Bank Group to analyze whether credit-scoring tools are inclusive. We also help to identify gaps in the financing ecosystem and de-risk the private sector from testing innovative end-user financing mechanisms that take into account farming system typologies, financial and social capital and crop seasonality.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs

Human capacity development and knowledge exchange

Scaling farmer-led irrigation requires strengthening human capacity and knowledge exchange among all actors and stakeholders involved. IWMI takes an action research approach, working with national and international research institutions, governments, extension agents and public and private organizations to co-develop the scaling ecosystem and strengthen capacity to drive scaling networks and collective action. We support the development of or reinforce national multi-stakeholder dialogues with the aim of sharing scaling experiences and realizing win-win collaboration, interactive learning and capacity development. Other modalities for capacity development include hackathons, innovation research grants for bachelor’s and master’s students, private sector scaling grants and innovation internships with private companies. These all serve to stimulate local and contextually relevant innovation, close the research-private sector divide and enhance job readiness among young professionals.

This focus area contributes to the following One CGIAR impact areas:

Nutrition, health and food security Poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs Gender equality, youth and inclusion Environmental health and biodiversity Climate adaptation and mitigation

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