Internship: Assessing the Impact of Water Availability on Crop Yield in Ghana; Soil Water Hydrology and Retention, and Water Use Efficiency

International Fertilizer Development Center

Accra, Ghana 🇬🇭

Accra  •  ID:20120929  •  Intern

Topic 7: Assessing the impact of water availability on crop yield in Ghana; soil water hydrology and retention, and water use efficiency

Climate variability are among the greatest challenges of the 21st century. High variability of precipitation causes uncertainties in agricultural productivity, with profound impacts on ecology, economy, and social welfare of farmers. A recent study in Ghana found a somewhat unusual effect: a decrease in yield was observed with increasing rainfall. This contradicts general findings in rainfed agriculture. Initial indications are that the depth of the soil might have affected this relation. This uncommon phenomenon of decreasing yields with increasing rainfall requires further investigation. This would help understand the observed yield variability that persists despite increased fertilizer application. Furthermore, understanding this relationship will facilitate the development of appropriate policies to address fertilizer management. Therefore, an intern is needed to thoroughly analyze the relationship between rainfall, soil physical properties and crop yield. The student is expected to address the following objectives:

  • What does the literature tell us about the impact of water availability on yield?
  • Analyze the observed soil physical properties data during the seasons of 2020, 2021 and 2023 in Ghana.
  • Understand and quantify the relation between rainfall, availability of soil water for plant growth.


This student will analyze observed soil physical data from the seasons 2020, 2021 and 2022 on soil water properties. The student will have to produce a clear methodology to understand what is happening in the field in order to elucidate the negative correlation observed between the amount of rainfall and the observed yield in relation to fertilizer applied. Using crop and soil models might be integral part of the methodology.The student will receive assistance and supervision from the FERARI team during the internship.


At the end of the research, the student shall produce a report to FERARI on this research and extract the most important findings in a policy brief. The student would also be assisted to produce a research article that can be published in a scientific journal for our wider international audience.


An MPhil/MSc student in agriculture, rural engineering, soil science or related studies. Applicant must have completed his/her course work and ready to start the research component. The student will use scientific knowledge as well as correlation and regression using available tools such as R, python, or Excel.


The duration for this assignment shall be seven (7) months, preferably starting no later than Jan 2023, preferably in Dec 2022. The student is expected to deliver specific activities within the following timeline (student can propose a revision to the timeline).  

Proposal writingWeeks 1-4
Methodological and Literature reviewWeeks 5-8
Data collectionWeeks 9-10
Data analysisWeeks 11-14
Report writingWeeks 15-22
Policy brief writingWeek 26-27
End of activitiesWeek 28





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