Economic Analysis of soil amendment (biochar) and safer irrigation options in urban and peri-urban agriculture. Case of Ouagadougou and Tamale African population is increasingly becoming urbanized and it is projected that nearly half (46.2%) of the population will live in cities by 2020. This expansion of urban agglomeration results in an increase in demand for food and the immigration of unskilled labour. While foods like cereals can be transported from rural areas, perishable crops like vegetables lose their market value during transportation as refrigeration is scarce. Most vegetables are therefore grown in and around cities to maintain their freshness and nutrition value. Thus urban and peri-urban agriculture (UPA) often irrigated due to unreliable rains and for year round supply to cities is a common practice and a means of attaining food security, balanced diet and livelihood to diverse groups of people in many developing countries. Nonetheless, the activity is often marked by general decline of soil fertility resulting in a gap between actual yield and potential yield as well as health risk through the production and consumption of unsafe foods particularly vegetables consumed in the raw state. The UrbanFood Plus project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF, seeks to address these bottlenecks through the development and test-implementation of low cost safer irrigation options and the soil amelioration with biochar for improved agricultural production. These technologies are relatively new in Tamale and Ouagadougou and most studies have been conducted mainly at the pot level and not at the farm level. Studies at pot level on the other hand do not present a true picture of the field as they exclude other economic and production factors such as labour. There thus exists information asymmetry where farmers typically lack the information on the cost and benefit or the effect of soil amendment with biochar and safer irrigation methods on their welfare. This study applies a theory based approach and combines knowledge in soil science and economics to assess the effect of these technologies on farmers’ welfare. The study shall yield both methodological and policy relevant results.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Löwenstein