EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Improving crop water use in West Africa in the context of climate change

Sehouevi Mawuton David Agoungbome, Nick van de Giesen, Frank Ohene Annor, and Marie-Claire ten Veldhuis
Sehouevi Mawuton David Agoungbome et al.
  • Delft University of Technology, Civil Engineering and Geoscience, Water Management, Netherlands (

Africa’s population is growing fast and is expected to double by 2050, meaning the food production must follow the cadence in order to meet the demand. However, one of the major challenges of agriculture in Africa is productivity (World Bank, 2009; IFRI, 2016). For instance, more than 40 million hectares of farmland were dedicated to maize in Africa in 2017 (approx. 20% of world total maize farms), but only 7.4% of the total world maize production came from the African continent (FAO, 2017). This shows the poor productivity which has its causes rooted in lack of good climate and weather information, slow technology uptake and financial support for farmers. In West Africa, where more than 70% of crop production is rain-fed, millions of farmers depend on rainfall, yet the region is one of the most vulnerable and least monitored in terms of climate change and rainfall variability. With a high uncertainty of future climate conditions in the region, one must foresee the big challenges ahead: farmers will be exposed to a lot of damages and losses leading to food insecurity resulting in famine and poverty if measures are not put in place to improve productivity. This study aims at addressing low productivity in agriculture by providing farmers with the right moment to start farming in order to improve efficiency and productivity of crop water use. By analyzing yield response to water availability of specific crops using AquaCrop, the Food and Agriculture Organization crop growth model, we investigate the crop water productivity variability throughout the rainy season and come up with recommendations that help optimize rainfall water use and maximize crop yield.

How to cite: Agoungbome, S. M. D., van de Giesen, N., Annor, F. O., and ten Veldhuis, M.-C.: Improving crop water use in West Africa in the context of climate change, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-11885,, 2020.


Display file

Comments on the display

AC: Author Comment | CC: Community Comment | Report abuse

displays version 1 – uploaded on 29 Apr 2020
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-11885, Valentina Pivotti, 07 May 2020

    Hi again, I have a follow-up question.

    I was just wondering if you are considering to include climate prediction (e.g. how the Monsoons are likely to be the upcoming summer) in order to provide information on longer time scales.
    I work on climate modes myself and I particularly care about their impacts, that's why I wonder if this kind of information is relevant for research like yours.


    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Sehouevi Mawuton David Agoungbome, 07 May 2020

      Thank you, Valentina, for your interest. 

      You are very correct. The monsoon is the main factor that determines rainfall in West Africa. There are some prediction models that include the monsoon circulation in their models.

      The project I am working on has two aspects, for now.

      1) develop a new rainfall forecast model that uses not only cloud top temperature and aerosols, but also includes land surface temperature and soil moisture to forecast rainfall. This will help in the daily management practices.

      2) We will also analyze the onset dynamics, and infer based on a seasonal index, what is the best sowing window for the three main staple crops (maize, sorghum, and millet) in the savanna region of West Africa. And we want this to be dynamics and seasonally updated. 

      Concerning long term forecast, the monsoon effect can never be neglected and it will also help have short to middle term planning recommendations.

      We can further discuss these points if you wish. My email address is: