Climate change is one of the greatest challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa. Projections suggest increasingly variable occurrence of precipitation and rising temperatures will lead to considerable harvest losses up to 50%. This is affecting the African agricultural sector, including Burkina Faso, a country where the agricultural sector plays an essential role in the national economy. New strategies and technologies are therefore urgently needed to adapt the agricultural sector to the negative consequences of climate change.
Climate change in West Africa leads to unpredictable shifts in the rainy seasons interrupted by irregular occurrence of dry periods. The unreliable and often shortened or interrupted growing season is a major reason for crop failures in Burkina Faso. Two interlinked adaptation strategies have particularly great potential to increase the resilience of agriculture in Burkina Faso to the extremely variable precipitation: (i) the improvement of precipitation monitoring and forecasting for agricultural planning and (ii) an optimized collection and storage of rainwater occurring outside the periods relevant for plant growth in order to use it for additional irrigation.
The required precipitation monitoring and short-term -forecasts are determined by analyzing the attenuation effects in commercial microwave link (CML) signals, to control the underground rainwater storage for additional irrigation. The implementation of the underground water collection system will be evaluated on a test rice-field regarding the productivity and a transfer of the underground water storage to other areas in Burkina Faso will be evaluated using phenological data derived from satellite products.
The research consortium under the leadership of the Deutsche Fernerkundungsdatenzentrums (DFD) consists of the companies INTEWA (rainwater storage system) and UBIMET (precipitation forecasts) and the University of Augsburg (precipitation monitoring using CML's). AgRAIN is a research project funded by the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) within the framework of the funding guideline "CLIENT II - International Partnerships for Sustainable Innovations" (Föderkennzeichen 01LZ1904A-C).