Sustainable agricultural development in inland valleys

S.J. Zwart

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherOther research output


The inland valley in Africa are common landscapes that have favorable conditions for agricultural production. Compared to the surrounding uplands they are characterized by a relatively high and secure water availability and high soil fertility levels. Inland valleys thus have a high agricultural production potential for crops such as rice, maize, yam, vegetables and fruits and they contribute to incoming generation and food security for the rural population.
However, besides being important for agriculture, inland valleys provide essential ecosystem services such as water retention, flood control, erosion control and biodiversity conservation, amongst others. Inland valleys also provide communities with construction materials, grazing grounds for cattle, medicinal plants, hunting grounds, etc. Agricultural developments, promoted by national governments and international donors, must therefore be planned and implemented in a participatory way to assure sustainable use and exploitation of the resources among the users.
In this lecture a four-step framework will be introduced that supports planning and implementation of sustainable inland valley development. In the framework tools are proposed for 1) selecting suitable inland valleys, 2) participatory land use planning, 3) design and implementation of water control and management, and 4) optimization of crop management practices. The the Smart-valleys approach for low-cost, participatory inland valley development of rice-based systems was developed by the Africa Rice Center. The implementation procedure and results that can be obtained will be presented as an alternative for high-cost – and often found not sustainable – irrigation infrastructure developments.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventSustainability in the FOOD-WATER-ECOSYSTEM Nexus in Sub Saharan Africa in support of the SDG’s: Sustainable wetland use - Kampala, Uganda
Duration: 12 Mar 201818 Mar 2018


CourseSustainability in the FOOD-WATER-ECOSYSTEM Nexus in Sub Saharan Africa in support of the SDG’s: Sustainable wetland use


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