Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 401132
Title Assessing drought risk and irrigation need in northern Ethiopia
Author(s) Araya, A.; Stroosnijder, L.
Source Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 151 (2011)4. - ISSN 0168-1923 - p. 425 - 436.
Department(s) Land Degradation and Development
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) barley hordeum-vulgare - rainwater use - dry spells - rainfall - highlands - variability - model - index - conservation - efficiency
Abstract Long-term climate data of four stations in the northern Ethiopia were analyzed in combination with information from local farmers and documented materials. From this analysis, a suitable drought-assessing technique was developed and site-specific needs for supplementary irrigation were explored. Results showed that our technique for assessing drought and crop failure corresponded well with farmer observations. The three major causes of crop failure (dry spells, short growing period and “total lack of rain”) which were explicitly listed and ranked by the local farmers were found to match the analyzed data well. The agro-meteorological variables with the most severe consequences were “short growing period” and “total lack of rain”. To prolong the growing period, supplementary irrigation is recommended in the month of September for three of the stations (Maychew, Mekelle and Adigudom) because: (1) rain frequently stops in early September or late August and crops have no other source of water for the rest of the growing period; (2) sufficient surface runoff can be harvested in July and August to be stored in farm ponds and used in September; (3) more cultivable land can be irrigated if supplementary irrigation is scheduled only for the month of September; and (4) giving supplementary irrigation in September can cut yield reduction by over 80% and crop failure by over 50%, except at Alamata. At Alamata, supplementary irrigation must be scheduled for July. The conditions experienced during the famine years of the early 1980s were primarily caused by the continued total rain failure over multiple years. Giving supplementary irrigation in July or September would probably not have mitigated the effects of these droughts, especially at Alamata and Maychew stations
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