Economic Evaluation of Rainwater Harvesting and Conservation (RWHC) Technologies for Sweet Potato Cultivation in Sierra Leone

Patrick Andrew Sawyerr
2019 International Journal of Agricultural Economics  
A field trial was conducted to evaluate the economic performance of rainwater harvesting and conservation (RWHC) technologies for sweet potato cultivation in Sierra Leone during five intensive cropping seasons (2014 second -2016 second cropping season) at the on-station research site of the Njala Agricultural Research Centre. The experiment was laid out in a randomized complete block design in three replications following a factorial combination of two levels of mulch (no mulch and mulch) and
more » ... ree levels of RWH structures (open ridge, tied ridge and arch ridge). Six RWHC technologies evaluated: open ridge without mulch (OR-M), open ridge with mulch (OR+M), tied ridge without mulch (TR-M) and tied ridge with mulch (TR+M), arch ridge without mulch (AR-M) and arch ridge with mulch (AR+M) . Profitability (gross margin, net income and breakeven), investment (NPV, IRR and BCR) and sensitivity analyses (25% root yield loss and 10% fall in the market price of sweet potato roots) were used to evaluate the economic performance of the RWHC techniques. The TR+M (SLL 2,091,280) had the highest net income followed by the AR-M (SLL 693,640) and AR+M (SLL 2,218,160) RWHC technologies. The traditional OR-M was not profitable (SLL -2,487,760) for sweet potato cultivation. Based on the cost of production, the OR-M, OR+M, and TR-M RWHC technologies require a root yield increase of 50.5%, 3.0% and 35.4% to breakeven. The AR+M had the highest and positive net seasonal cash flow returns throughout the five cropping seasons. The breakeven point on the net season seasonal cash flow returns for the TR+M, AR-M and OR+M RWHC technologies was in the 2015 main cropping season. At discount rates of 10%, 15%, 20% and 25% the highest NPV was obtained from the AR+M followed by the TR+M and AR-M RWHC technologies. The highest IRR was obtained from the AR+M (111%) followed by TR+M (84%) and AR-M (61%). The AR+M, TR+M and AR-M RWHC technologies had benefit-cost ratios greater than 1. Under uncertain conditions of 25% root yield loss and 10% fall in the market price of sweet potato roots, the AR+M and TR+M are the most profitable RWHC technologies that could be invested in. These technologies should, therefore, be promoted for adoption through on-farm trials in order to enhance intensive sweet potato cultivation on upland gravelly soils in Sierra Leone.
doi:10.11648/j.ijae.20190403.12 fatcat:rbzu2my77vaxvoxilrebyyeydi