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PARTNERSHIPS FOR ENHANCED ENGAGEMENT IN RESEARCH (PEER)
Cycle 6 (2017 Deadline)


Water security and social-hydrological resilience for rural small-scale crop value chains

PI: Marizvikuru Manjoro neé Mwale, mukudzeishe@yahoo.com, University of Venda
U.S. Partner: Brian Chaffin, University of Montana, Missoula
Project Dates: March 2018- February 2020


Project Overview:

This study proposes a value-chain approach to answer important research questions for sustainable agriculture, food and water security, and social-hydrological resilience. How can we secure scarce water resources along rural small-scale crop farming value chains at a river basin scale? How can we promote water security that supports small-scale agricultural productivity? How can we improve access to appropriate quantity and quality of water to ensure food security and social-hydrological resilience?

To answer these questions, the PI and her team will take three distinct approaches. The initial phase of the project will involve a detailed literature review on agricultural water use, security, productivity and footprinting. The review will seek to document the potential benefits of understanding water utilisation by rural small-scale crops in South Africa and the broader region. This initial phase of the proposed research will also contribute to the identification of suitable sites and suitable crops to be evaluated. In the second phase, the researchers will apply the value-chain analysis framework to assess water use in the production, post-harvest handling, and consumption of selected crops in the Limpopo and Zambezi River Basins. Value-chain mapping will also be used to identify and characterize actors and their linkages, from the producer to the final consumer. Comparison of variations of water use values for selected smallholder crops will be carried out, complemented by data from the value-chain mapping exercise. The team will use participatory rural appraisals to generate sufficient data for the value chain mapping. The third phase of the study will involve the process of estimating the water footprint for selected crops within the Limpopo and Zambezi River Basins. The focus will be on the production stage, that is, the cultivation of the agricultural crops from planting to harvesting, during the 1990-2017 period. The team will compare the water footprint for crops grown in both the Limpopo Basin and the Zambezi Basin to produce regional data sets that can inform policy. The proposed water footprinting exercise will provide information that is useful for post-harvest applications, as well.


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