David Smedley

David Smedley

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David Smedley

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Start Year

2014 (Cohort 1)

Research interests:

Poverty alleviation through agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa
Integrated water resource management

Hobbies and interests:

PhD Project
PhD Title

Overcoming dry spells through low cost adaptations among small holder farmers in the Volta, assessing biophysical and social viability

Research Theme


Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution


Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution



The intensification of agriculture in Africa has long been recognised as the key to combating the widespread poverty that exists amongst rural populations and enhancing food security. The use of inputs such as inorganic fertilizers, pesticides and capital intensive irrigation schemes have been included to varying degrees within intervention strategies. Such interventions have only been successful where resources have been in place to sustain them and the adverse effects on ecosystem service provision is ignored. For Africa’s poorest farmers such input intensive interventions are not possible. This PhD will work within the context of the CGIAR Water, Land and Ecosystems Volta project to explore low input adaptations, based on traditional framing techniques, which could be scaled to increase yields and enhance ecosystem service outcomes amongst smallholder agriculture in the Volta river basin. By using interviews, discussions and house hold analyses, alongside semi-controlled field trials, farming techniques which have positive yield and ecosystem service benefits will be explored and possible barriers to the implementation of recommended adaptations identified. This will combine with regional scale modelling using WaterWorld to understand the potential yield and ecosystem service benefits of large scale adoption across the Volta.

Policy Impact
Background Reading



Defra, supervised by Jo Foreman and Liz Tucker. 09/04/2018 – 06/07/2018.

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