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Raised beds for improving crop water productivity and water efficiency in irrigated dryland agriculture, Egypt

Summary

Egypt has been suffering from severe drought and is going to face an even stronger scarcity of water resources used for agricultural production. Nowadays, 80% of the available water in Egypt is provided to the agricultural sector. Within the prospect of ongoing horizontal and vertical expansion of irrigated agriculture in Egypt and the challenges faced by dry climatic conditions, the focus should ly on the improvement of the efficincy of water use in irrigated agriculture. The benefits of each drop applied could be maximised by adopting appropriate irrgation scheduling and adapted irrgation practices.

This practice shows the raised-bed technology for improving water use efficiency and increase crop water productivity in the context of irrgated agriculture in Egypt. It has been tested and validated within a research project between 2004-2008 with winter and summer crops (wheat, berseem & maize, cotton). The application of this technique with the main winter crops has shown that up to 25% of water could be saved, while crop production increased by 10%. Net benefits increased by 40% in the studied governorates in Egypt, and additionally, it reduced variable costs by 30%. Thus, it enhances the efficiency of water use, while at the same time increasing farm income, especially beneficial to poor farm households. Additionally, it is a simple practice that is easy to implement by farmers.

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