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Advancing climate-smart-agriculture in developing drylands: Joint analysis of the adoption of multiple on-farm soil and water conservation technologies in West African Sahel

Kpadonou R., Owiyo T., Barbier B., Denton F., Rutabingwa F., Kiéma S.. 2017. Land Use Policy, 61 : p. 196-207.

DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2016.10.050

Water stress and soil infertility are the greatest constraining factors for higher agricultural productivity in drylands, prompting the current interest in soil and water conservation (SWC) practices in water-constrained regions. To provide a more comprehensive understanding of challenges surrounding the adoption of SWC practices in these regions, we used a joint analysis framework combining both multivariate and ordered probit models to analyze adoption-decisions for eleven on-farm SWC practices. Our case study, involving 500 farmers from a representative West African Sahelian zone, revealed that although the adoption of SWC practices is widespread in the West African drylands, there is still an important potential to improve and upscale their specific adoption rates. Almost all farmers (99%) used at least one of the eleven practices considered in this study, whereas specific adoption rates ranged from 5% for contour vegetation barriers to 87% for manure application. More than 70% of the farmers used up to three practices only, and less than 30% used between four to nine practices. Many practices are interdependent, with some practices being complementary and others substitutable. The analysis of the determinants of the adoption and the intensity of adoption revealed that SWC practices are labor-, knowledge- and capital-intensive. We found that the major drivers of farmers' decisions to adopt, as well as to intensify the use of, most SWC practices are the presence of children (aged 6 to 14) in the household, land holding, land tenure, awareness and training on SWC and access to alternative ¿ but non-agricultural labor constraining ¿ cash sources such as remittance and cash farming. A higher number of migrating household members increases the probability of intensifying the use of SWC practices, but only when this is in line with the household's land endowment and labor needs for farm activities. This comprehensive study will be of significance for a finer understanding of SWC practices in West African Sahel. More generally, it will likely help policy makers to upscale the adoption of sustainable SWC practices for the advance of climate-smart agriculture in developing drylands.

Mots-clés : afrique occidentale; sahel

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