Inland valleys are low-lying areas, including valley bottoms and flood plains, receiving runoff from hills and mountains.
These valleys and adjacent lowlands are locally referred to as dambos in Eastern and Central Africa; fadamas in Nigeria and Chad; and bas-fonds or marigots in Francophone African countries.
They cover approximately 190 million hectares in Sub-Saharan Africa, which is about 8% of the land area. Only a small fraction of the inland valleys, probably less than 15%, is currently being used, mostly in the sub-humid and humid zones.
Inland valleys have a high potential for rice cultivation. In Ghana the potential area for inland valley rice production has been estimated at as much as 2 million ha.
How to Support
Farmers in inland valleys face several constraints. Rice cultivation is labor intensive and in Ghana land tenure is often a problem. Poor farming and water management techniques mean rice yields are below par, and low lying valleys can be prone to drought, flooding, weeds, pests and diseases. To support farmers in these areas, we need to:
- Improve water management and agronomic recommendations,
- Ensure tenure security by instituting proper tenancy agreements,
- Offer affordable, long-term financing mechanisms
Where to Invest
In Sub Saharan Africa, there is good potential for expansion of community managed river diversions in terms of application area and rural population reached.