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