Burkina Faso’s plans to spearhead micro-irrigation is a goal that has been in the works since somewhere 2019. Micro-irrigation is an agricultural method that aims to bring water to the foot of the plant and is usually drip-fed. This is done through a surface or underground distribution network, avoiding evaporation as much as possible.

Micro-irrigation is labour-saving. Also, when it is coupled with “fertigation”, which is the use of fertiliser soluble in irrigation water, it optimises the use of local water resources. This agricultural method again aids in improving crop productivity. Burkina Faso is faced with the effects of drought in the Sahel, which has been aggravated by climate change. As such, micro-irrigation has become very popular among farmers in Burkina Faso, and more recently in neighbouring Niger.

There have been successful trials with micro-irrigation in the country. Ouagadougou has launched a vast programme to promote micro-irrigation. There have been about 2,000ha already developed with this cultivation technique, thanks to 1,500 water tanks. Burkina Faso has gone from 20 pilot farms in 2019 to implement this method in nearly 500 farms. Indeed, Burkina Faso’s plans to spearhead micro-irrigation is seeing progress.

“We are building a resilient farming model (…) based around using groundwater, solar pumping and efficient irrigation technologies that limit evaporation as much as possible,” says Donkora Kambou, director general of Burkina Faso’s agriculture ministry.

The prospects for the development of micro-irrigation techniques are great, not only in the Sahel, but also in Southern Africa, which is also a drought-prone region. The size of the drip irrigation market in the Middle East and Africa, which Market Data Forecast estimates will be worth $572m per annum by 2025, is likely to attract specialist players to the continent.

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