International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
Mannheim, Germany - September 2001
Rainwater Catchment in Agriculture
Rainwater Into Food Efficiently
J.J. Botha, J.J. Anderson, P.P. van Staden, L.D. van Rensburg, M.
ARC-Institute for Soil, Climate and Water
Private Bag X01
Republic of South Africa
The problem was highlighted in the 3 May 1999 issue of
the official newsletter of the National Department of Agriculture in which
it was reported that "..more than 14 million people in South Africa
are vulnerable to food insecurity." This is a serious problem. One
of the main factors limiting food production over large areas in South
Africa is a shortage of water. It is also true that a large proportion
of the rain that does fall is wasted. In other words it is not used productively
to produce food. Every drop of rain that is wasted contributes to this
problem of food insecurity. The problems is most serious for those people
who depend on small areas of land to provide their food requirements.
If we want to reduce food insecurity we therefore need to focus first
on the needs of these people.
Rainfall use efficiency, and therefore crop yields, can
be increased significantly in semiarid areas on fairly deep clay soils
using a water conservation production technique which combines the benefits
of water harvesting, no-till, mulching and basin tillage.
PDF of full document (4pp, 48kb)
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