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Water Demand: Agriculture  

Agriculture is perhaps one of the most important economic activities in the Limpopo River basin, with a large portion of the population depending on it for livelihoods. Within sub-Saharan Africa the agricultural sector is the largest contributor to national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and involves the highest number of people (FAO2004). Balancing the water requirements to meet the needs for irrigation with water supply for domestic and industrial use and maintaining the environmental flows of the river being one of the greatest challenges facing LIMCOM and the national water management institutions of the member states.

The contribution of agriculture to GDP in the basin countries varies from:

Agriculture in the Limpopo River basin is typically low-input based on extensive management and utilisation of the natural resources. However, irrigation of agriculture accounts for greater than 50 % of the total water demand in the Limpopo River basin as noted in the Chapter Water Use and Allocation.

Return flow is the water that is taken from a river or water body to irrigate crops, that is not used by the plants and flows back into the watercourse.

Agriculture in the coastal plains of Mozambique.
Source: ARA-Sul 2009
( click to enlarge )



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