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Flood-based farming systems (FBFS) are extensively used throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Consisting of spate irrigation, flood recession and flood rise farming, inundation canals and depression agriculture, it is estimated that these farming systems cover close to 25 million hectares in this region alone. For each of these FBFS, different techniques and approaches can be used to develop their potential. A wide variety of best practices can be captured from around the world that are instrumental to strengthen FBFS. Significant gains can be made in the area of water distribution, field water management, groundwater use, agronomic practices, multi-functional use of floodplains as well as their governance. Thus, this chapter discusses the effect of FBFS on sedimentation processes and soil fertility, the link between the distribution and management of both floodwater and run-off and the different ecosystem services: water for agriculture, rangeland management, drinking water and recharge. There is a need to take an integrated approach towards FBFS development by promoting multi-functionality, including making use of the agricultural potential. Changes needed to come to a sustainable multi-functionality are often not complex or costly but require good understanding of the local resource base, its carrying capacity and insights into opportunities for improvement.
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- The Promise of Flood-Based Farming Systems in Arid and Semi-arid Areas
Frank van Steenbergen
Abraham Mehari Haile
Yasir Mohamed Abbas