The challenge of water scarcity as a result of insufficient seasonal rainfall and dry spell occurrences during cropping seasons is compounded by inefficient agricultural practices by smallholder farmers where insignificant soil and water conservation efforts are applied. The hypothesis of this research is that many of the past research efforts have taken a fragmented approach to deal with the challenges facing subsistence farmers in rainfed systems.
The research has been conducted in the semi-arid Makanya catchment of northern Tanzania and has successfully applied different analytical techniques to better understand soil and water interactions at field scale. It has been demonstrated that there is indeed scope to increase crop water productivity provided the local farmers adopt more efficient cultivation techniques. Substantial yield increases occur as a result of diverting runoff and these further improve when other techniques such as ripping, application of manure and cover cropping are introduced. This confirms that no single solution exists to solve the problem of low yields in rainfed farming systems.
However, even with these promising results, the research has shown that there is room to further improve the efficiency of crop water use through improvement in research approaches and exploration of better techniques.
1. Introduction 2. Rainfed Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa 3. The Study Area 4. Research Sites and Observation Techniques 5. Water Partitioning Analysis using Modelling Techniques 6. Productivity Analysis 7. Synthesis of the Research 8. Conclusions
IHE Delft PhD programme leads to a deepening of a field of specialisation. PhD fellows do scientific research, often with conclusions that directly influence their region. At IHE Delft, PhD researchers from around the world participate in problem-focused and solution-oriented research on development issues, resulting in an inspiring research environment. PhD fellows work together with other researchers from many countries dealing with topics related to water and the environment.
PhD research is often carried out in the ‘sandwich’ model. Preparation and final reporting – the first and last portion of the programme – are carried out in Delft, while actual research is done in the fellow’s home country, under co-supervision of a local institute. Regular contacts with the promotor are maintained through visits and long-distance communication. This enables researchers to employ solutions directly to problems in their geographical region.
IHE Delft PhD degrees are awarded jointly with a university. The degrees are highly valued and fully recognised in all parts of the world.