Many West and Central African countries are fortunate to have abundant water resources. However, these resources are unevenly distributed across the region and are mostly untapped. Less than three percent of the region’s arable land benefits from some form of strategic water management. At the same time, many countries face erratic rainfall as the region is becoming highly vulnerable to climate change, and farmers are increasingly dealing with climate variability and extreme weather risks.
Better water management is needed in this region to increase agricultural productivity and help boost farmer’s livelihoods. To this end, FAO is implementing the Adapting Irrigation to Climate Change in West and Central Africa (AICCA) project in Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Mali and Niger to provide smallholder farmers with concrete tools in water management, small-scale irrigation systems and adaptation strategies that respond to their specific needs.
As smallholder farmers are the most vulnerable to the impacts of a changing climate, they need strategies to strengthen their resilience and adapt to climate change. They also need improved access to markets, information, finance, technologies and other agricultural infrastructure. Implementing small-scale irrigation techniques that are adapted to the effects of climate change will not only help the region secure sufficient and reliable access to water but also ensure that water is not wasted.