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DOES IT PAY TO INVEST IN DRYLANDS

By Jeffrey Chavez,2014-08-12 02:33
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DOES IT PAY TO INVEST IN DRYLANDS

    SUCCESS STORIES IN AFRICA’S DRYLANDS: SUPPORTING ADVOCATES AND ANSWERING SKEPTICS

A paper commissioned by the Global Mechanism of the Convention to

    Combat Desertification

March 18, 2003

Chris Reij

    David Steeds

     CIS / Centre for International Cooperation Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam 03-033.ifad-ccd-gm/cry/jhe

Acknowledgements

    This paper benefited from useful comments from Jon Anderson, Will Critchley, Peter Dewees, Mike Mortimore, Patricia Mwangi, Mary Tiffen and Stephen Turner, and many others to whom we are indebted. Cheikh Sourang (Global Mechanism) took the initiative for this study and created favourable conditions for its implementation. The authors are responsible for any inadequacies in the paper.

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    Table of Contents ......................................................................................... page

    Summary ............................................................................................................ v

    Preamble ........................................................................................................... 1

    A. Justification of this paper ............................................................................ 1

    B. Successful drylands area development ....................................................... 2

    1. The Central Plateau of Burkina Faso (19802002) ............................... 2

    2. Machakos District in Kenya (19301990) ............................................. 4

    3. Makueni District (Kenya), Maradi Department (Niger), Kano Region

    (Nigeria), and Diourbel Region (Senegal) (19602000) ....................... 4

    C. Successful drylands projects and programs ............................................... 6

    Soil and water conservation ................................................................................. 6

    1. Soil and Water Conservation in Illela District, Niger .............................. 6

    2. Niger: the Integrated Rural Development Project in the Keita Valley...... 7

    Irrigation.............................................................................................................. 8

    1. Mali: Office du Niger large-scale gravity irrigation ................................. 8

    2. Nigeria: small-scale valley bottom irrigation with shallow pumping ........ 9

    Forestry .............................................................................................................10

    1. Forest resources management in Tanzania ........................................11

    2. Niger household energy project ..........................................................12

    3. Reforestation in Tigray, Ethiopia .........................................................13

    Livestock and range management .......................................................................14

    1. Livestock and Pasture Development in eastern Morocco .....................14

    2. Kenya: Arid Lands Resource Management Project .............................15

    3. West African Pastoral Pilot Program ...................................................16

    Community-Based Natural Resource Management ..............................................16

    1. Southern Africa: Community-Based Wildlife Management ...................17

    2. Southern Africa: the economic benefits of general Community-Based

    Natural Resource Management ..........................................................18

    Extension and Research .....................................................................................18

    1. Farmer Innovation in Africa ................................................................18

    2. Eastern and southern Africa: maize research ......................................20

    Local institutions .................................................................................................21

    1. Burkina Faso: local institutions and poverty reduction ..........................21

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    D. Some generalizations from the success stories .........................................22

    E. Pointers towards even greater successes .................................................23

    F. Next steps ....................................................................................................26

    G. Concluding remarks ...................................................................................27

    H. References ..................................................................................................28

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Summary

    The starting point for this brief paper was the premise that many well-intentioned drylands advocates were experiencing great difficulty in convincing their colleagues in Ministries of Finance and Planning, or their colleagues in donor agencies, that investments in drylands development make economic sense.

    This paper reviews the findings of some long-term studies of drylands area development in East Africa and in the West African Sahel. The broad findings are

    that drylands people are remarkably resilient and have succeeded in increasing their incomes in sustainable ways, and in coping with all but the most severe natural calamities. Coping has entailed on-farm innovation in risk-reducing and productivity-enhancing techniques and activities, and developing off-farm income sources, which are often, but not always, invested in on-farm activities. A thriving agricultural economy promoted by sound policy is clearly necessary, but is not a sufficient condition for successful drylands development.

    In reviewing successful drylands agricultural projects, the paper finds two common themes:

; Institutional development: simultaneous streamlining of roles and reducing

    costs of public entities, as well as strengthening capacities and delegating

    responsibilities to users‟ associations.

    ; Technical innovation: such innovation by researchers, farmers and/or project

    staff has contributed significantly to success, notably on the Central Plateau

    of Burkina Faso; some projects have become successful because they were

    flexible enough to integrate innovations that had not been foreseen in project

    design; and farmer innovation is a resource still waiting to be fully tapped.

    Mistakes have been painfully learned, as also in more humid areas, but project performance in drylands has greatly improved over time.

    The paper identifies some pointers towards successes. It ends with some suggestions for next steps, including stimulating impact assessment of dryland projects, commissioning more long-term area development studies along the lines of work done in the Kenyan Machakos and other studies, as well as mainstreaming the findings of this paper in new agricultural initiatives and in poverty reduction strategies.

    The various cases presented in the paper provide sufficient evidence to support the claim that the economic benefits of investing in African drylands can be high. Economic rates of return of 30 % were found in Mali Office du Niger large-scale irrigation, 20 % in Niger Illela soil and water conservation, more than 20 % in Tigray forestry, and 12 % in Tanzania forestry. The return to small-scale valley bottom irrigation in northern Nigeria was certainly over 40 %, and the return to small-scale irrigation in the Komadougou valley in Niger was probably of a similar order of magnitude. In addition, investments in drylands have greater returns in terms of poverty reduction than investments anywhere else and, since many disenfranchised people live in drylands, returns are also good from security and rights perspectives too. Investments in drylands clearly have many kinds of high pay-offs.

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Preamble

    The Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification has initiated two parallel activities and is involved in a third one aimed at producing evidence that investing in drylands is economically rational. These activities are:

    1. The compilation and analysis of success stories of agricultural and natural

    resource management projects in Africa‟s drylands.

    2. A study on the socioeconomics of land degradation and land rehabilitation.

    3. A study on the environmental impact of land degradation, a long-term exercise

    initiated by the global Land Degradation Assessment Program implemented by

    FAO. The program has selected Argentina, China and Senegal as case studies.

This paper reports on work-in-progress regarding success stories in Africa‟s drylands.