Enumeration of Agricultural Techniques for Enabling Water Conservation in Africa REMIX
Water Conservation is an important concern for the water depleted continent of Africa.Various agricultural techniques that facilitate water conservation are enlisted.
The observed gradual changes in climatic conditions in the African sub continent results in hypothesing the common consensus view that there will be further paucity of water in the future. The water scarcity in the northern and north western regions of Africa makes it necessary to implement different techniques of agriculture that promote water conservation. The southern regions are facing the problem of salt water flowing into the water sources in those regions.
The right utilization of the water for agriculture is necessary especially in the areas of drought or deficient water resources. The grants and monetary resources directed to help Africa should be used judiciously by researching on the different methodologies of cultivation focusing on the regional climatic, soil and socio cultural factors. The optimal agricultural techniques that can be used to handle the water scarcity are as follows:
Drip Irrigation: Drip irrigation is an agricultural innovation which ensures the optimal usage of water in the root zone of the plant. The regional usage of water in the furrows ensures the water conservation to deal with the paucity of water in the African continent. Drip irrigation additionally ensures that the plant's roots are healthy and mitigates the possibility of crop spoilage due to other environmental factors. The pests and crop diseases that are caused due to extra water or flowing water in the non root zones are avoided by default. Drip irrigation also helps in the regulation of the moisture level. For water intensive crops the moisture content can be increased whereas for crops that need less water the drip frequency and intensity can be customized accordingly. The climatic factors like drought, heat etc can also be controlled by this system of water by vigilant day to day monitoring. If this system can be automated by building softwares that can integrate weather forecasts, weather monitoring, soil testing, water level testing then the distribution of required water, fertilizers etc through the drip system can be optimised.This would essentially be a step towards building an intelligent drip irrigation customized software solution. The installation and maintenance of the drip irrigation system is simple and economical and once it is set up it can provide service for years to an end. The drip irrigation system can be customized according to the crop, region and external factors for an optimal harvest. Fertilizers can be administered as per the soil quality through the drip irrigation system. The soil can be tested and on determining the soil requirements the soluble fertilizers can be transmitted to just the root zone. This ensures the optimal use of the fertilizers also. The dissemination can be done by using drip emitters or micro sprinklers. It helps in the other wise labor intensive process of growing a crop. The structure, drip pipe diameters, micro sprinkler size etc can be ascertained according to an initial simulation of growing the crop or by technology transfer. Drip Irrigation can be used for cash crops like wheat as well as vegetables and fruits.
Spray Irrigation: This is an irrigation process that entails the usage of sprinklers Sprinklers are installed above the ground. The dissemination of water can be done as per the crop. The distance between sprinklers and the type of sprinklers can also be customized. Large overhead sprinklers can be used to distribute the water for these crops. The sprinklers have pressured rotating pipes and can be customized manually or by using computer sensors. There is also a concept of traveling sprinklers. The Pivot Sprinkler System is a better mechanism where traveling sprinklers are concerned. This has pipes that are supported by trusses mounted on wheeled towers.These rotate in circular motion and water is distributed in the fields. These are essentially used in terrains that are flat.
Grow Less Water Consuming Crops: For water deficient areas crops like millet and sorghum can be grown. These crops are planted in the Indian States of Rajasthan and Maharashtra.The seeds can be imported from India. Another plant which needs minimal water is Prosopis cineraria.This plant is usually planted in India and Pakistan.This plant belongs to the family Leguminose.In semi arid areas the leaves of this plant can be fed to live stock like cow, sheep and camel etc.Seeds of this plant can be used as a lentil. Fruit of this plant can be eaten in the form of beans. The fruit can be dried and stored. It can be soaked in water and then cooked for human consumption. This plant is good for arid and dry regions because these are one of those plants under which better crops can be grown. The roots of these plants help in conservation of water. The wood stocks of this plant can be used for cooking fuel. Very minimal branches and roots are needed for cooking fuel.
Humus Usage As A Natural Fertiliser: To create humus the cow dung, vegetable matter, stems and leaves on being warmed in the fields with water forms vermin compost called humus. Humus helps in retaining humidity and nutrients. This can be used as a fertilizer. Humus acts as a catalyst as it helps in the consumption of micro nutrients required by crops and plant. Chemical fertilizers require more water as compared to vermin compost and so humus is helps in conservation of water.
Fertilisers For Optimal Water Conservation: Fertilisers that need less water should be used. Soil should be tested by implements like atomic analyzers so that the micro nutrient deficiency can be detected. Nutrients that can be tested are zinc, sulphate, ferrous sulphate, magnesium etc.An ideal soil mix should be essentially ascertiained.Urea fertilizer needs more water in the long run and also depletes the quality of the land. For crop protection organic sprays should be used. Double oiled neem cake, castor cake,zetrofa,mustard cake can be used as fertilizers and these can additionally be used to create humus.Neem oil when treated with caustic soda or any other normal detergent makes it soluble in water. This solution when sprayed decreases the soil insects and pests. These sprays will not kill the beneficial soil insects and pests but will annihilate the harmful ones. Tobacco oil can be boiled and used as an insecticide or pesticide. Garlic Solution on being crushed, dissolved in water and then sieved can be used as a pesticide. It prohibits insects from infesting the crop and further the added advantage is that there is no residue left on completition of the process. This is a hundred percentage organic process.
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