Transforming smallholder irrigation into profitable and self-sustaining systems in southern Africa

Bjornlund, H and Parry, K and Pittock, J and Stirzaker, R and Van Rooyen, A F and Moyo, M and Mdemu, M and de Sousa, W and Cheveia, E and Munguambe, P and Kimaro, E and Kissoly, L and Chilundo, M and Zuo, A and Ramshaw, P (2018) Transforming smallholder irrigation into profitable and self-sustaining systems in southern Africa. Technical Report. K-water and the International Water Resources Association (IWRA).

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Research Program : Innovation Systems for the Drylands (ISD)

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Abstract

Small-scale communal irrigation schemes in Africa have not realised returns on investment. Critical to this failure is that funders, designers and managers of these schemes have not recognized them as complex socio-ecological systems with a diversity of constraints. These schemes are often under-performing and characterized by a subsistence orientation, which is compounded by poor market integration, low capacity to invest in crop production, low yields, difficulties paying for water, or lack of willingness to participate in system maintenance. The end result is unsustainable utilization of resources, failed infrastructure, inefficient use of water and land and increased conflict over access to these resources. Conventional irrigation scheme development has focused on ‘hard’ technologies to improve the functionality and efficiency of infrastructure and/or irrigation application technologies. However, hard technology improvements on their own have failed to deliver sustainable schemes and improve the livelihoods of irrigation farmers (Inocencio et al., 2007): broken and decaying infrastructure is just one element of an underperforming system. While technologies that are more efficient may help improve yield, they will not necessarily improve profitability. A great many irrigation schemes are trapped in a negative cycle of infrastructure provision, unprofitable farming, lack of investment in maintenance, infrastructure degradation leading to donors subsidizing infrastructure rehabilitation (Pittock & Stirzaker, 2014; Bjornlund et al., 2017)...

Item Type: Monograph (Technical Report)
Divisions: Research Program : Innovation Systems for the Drylands (ISD)
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE)
Uncontrolled Keywords: smallholder irrigation, southern Africa, soil monitoring, irrigation schemes, Small scale irrigation schemes, case studies, Smart Water Management
Subjects: Others > Irrigation
Others > Water Resources
Others > Africa
Others > ICT
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2018 05:41
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2018 05:41
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/10966
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