Solar-powered drip irrigation enhances food security in the Sudano-Sahel

Jennifer Burney, Lennart Woltering, Marshall Burke, Rosamond Naylor, Dov Pasternak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

187 Scopus citations


Meeting the food needs of Africa's growing population over the next half-century will require technologies that significantly improve rural livelihoods at minimal environmental cost. These technologies will likely be distinct from those of the Green Revolution, which had relatively little impact in sub-Saharan Africa; consequently, few such interventions have been rigorously evaluated. This paper analyzes solar-powered drip irrigation as a strategy for enhancing food security in the rural Sudano-Sahel region of West Africa. Using a matched-pair comparison of villages in northern Benin (two treatment villages, two comparison villages), and household survey and field-level data through the first year of harvest in those villages, we find that solar-powered drip irrigation significantly augments both household income and nutritional intake, particularly during the dry season, and is cost effective compared to alternative technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1848-1853
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2 Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • Agriculture
  • Photovoltaic
  • Poverty
  • Water use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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