Agron. Sustain. Dev.
Volume 25, Number 2, April-June 2005
Page(s) 225 - 236
Agron. Sustain. Dev. 25 (2005) 225-236
DOI: 10.1051/agro:2005021

Increase in rice productivity in the Senegal River valley due to improved collective management of irrigation schemes

Jean-Christophe Poussina, Youssouf Diallob, Jean-Claude Legoupilc and Abdoulaye Sowd

a  Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), BP 64501, 34394 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
b  Centre National de Recherche Agronomique et de Développement Agricole (CNRADA), BP 22, Kaédi, Mauritania
c  Centre International de Coopération pour le Développement (CIRAD), avenue Agropolis, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
d  West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA), BP 255, 01 Bouaké, Côte d'Ivoire

(Accepted 27 January 2005)

Abstract - Village irrigation schemes cover about 25% of the irrigated area on the two banks of the Senegal River. We analyzed irrigation scheme and rice crop management practices during the 1998 wet season in this type of irrigation scheme in Mauritania. Average yield was 4.8 t ha-1; problems with irrigation rules resulted in great variability of irrigation frequency between fields, and sub-optimal timing of nitrogen fertilizer application resulted in yield losses. Based on this diagnosis, we suggested to farmers new irrigation rules and cropping calendars planned on the scale of the irrigation scheme. Planned cropping calendars were built using CalCul, a software that we designed on the basis of the irrigated rice development model RIDEV. These suggestions of improved collective management were implemented in the 1999 and 2000 wet seasons. Average yield reached 7.2 t ha-1 in 1999 and 8.2 t ha-1 in 2000, without any significant increase in production costs. This great increase in rice productivity was mainly due to better collective management obtained through planning cropping calendars. This result showed that technical innovation is not the only way to improve productivity.

Key words: irrigated rice / West Africa / crop management / input efficiency / decision support tool

Corresponding author: Jean-Christophe Poussin

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2005