IDRC grantee, the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering
(2iE), recently played host to Burkina Faso's president and other distinguished guests as part of the country's annual Farmer's Day celebrations. Burkina Faso’s President Compaoré met with the IDRC-supported project team as part of the country’s 15th
annual Farmer’s Day.
President Compaoré and other government officials were among the guests attending a presentation by research leader Prof. Hamma Yacouba on the benefits of the water conservation technologies the project is testing. The project aims to help farmers cope with drought in Kongoussi, in Bam province, and Guiè in the province of Oubritenga. It is one of seven projects supported under the $10 million African Adaptation Research Centres
initiative managed by IDRC’s Climate Change and Water
program and funded through the Government of Canada’s Fast-Start Climate Financing.
2iE is constructing low-cost reservoirs adjacent to farmers’ fields to capture rainwater and surface water runoff that can be used to irrigate crops during increasingly frequent and unpredictable dry periods. Declining rainfall, increased drought
Since the 1970s, the Sahel region has experienced a marked decline in rainfall and high variability in the timing of the start of the rainy season.
Increasingly, Burkinabe farmers face longer and more frequent periods of drought due to climate change. And since most agriculture is rain-fed, dry spells stunt crop growth in the absence of alternative water sources.
The water reservoirs make water available year-long, allowing for increased agricultural yields. 2iE is also training 200 farmers on how to access improved weather information to help them plan their crops and manage their irrigation.
Researchers are assessing the value of investing in these technologies to help communities adapt to climate change, but farmers are already seeing their benefits.
Farmer Kané Mahamadou of Bam province is convinced of the necessity of water storage after witnessing the success of 2iE’s pilot reservoirs in another village. The previous growing season had been particularly difficult, and few farmers in his village were able to meet their families’ needs. Inspired by their neighbours’ efforts to adapt to climate change, Mahamadou and his fellow villagers came together to build their own storage basins.
The Burkina Faso government has also been impressed by the project's success. Following President Compaoré’s visit, the Minister of Agriculture and Hydraulics announced plans to replicate the project with an additional 1,000 farmers.
Project leader Prof. Hamma Yacouba (left, back facing) explains the benefits of water storage to President Compaoré and other government officials. This news item presents results of an IDRC-supported research project, Irrigation and climate information in Burkina Faso.