Transforming failing smallholder irrigation schemes in Africa: a theory of change

Pittock, J and Bjornlund, H and van Rooyen, A (2020) Transforming failing smallholder irrigation schemes in Africa: a theory of change. International Journal of Water Resources Development (TSI), 36 (S1). S1-S19. ISSN 0790-0627

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Drawing on the results of the Transforming Irrigation in Southern Africa project, we assess positive transitions in smallholder irrigation schemes. The project’s theory of change is evaluated. Soil monitoring tools and agricultural innovation platforms were introduced in five irrigation schemes in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. The synergies between these interventions increased both crop yields and profitability. This empowered farmers, improved equity, and accelerated social learning and innovation. The resulting, iterative cycles of change improved governance, sustainability and socio-economic outcomes. The challenges of scaling these interventions up and out are outlined.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : East & Southern Africa
Uncontrolled Keywords: Africa, Agricultural innovation platforms, Smallholder irrigation, Social learning, Soil-water monitoring, Theory of change
Subjects: Others > Smallholder Agriculture
Others > Soil Science
Others > Water Resources
Others > Africa
Others > Sub-Saharan Africa
Depositing User: Mr Arun S
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2021 05:29
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2021 05:29
Official URL:
Funders: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Australian National University, CGIAR Program on Water, Land and Ecosystem
Acknowledgement: The project Increasing Irrigation Water Productivity in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zimbabwe through on-Farm Monitoring, Adaptive Management and Agricultural Innovation Platforms (AIPs) (FSC/2013/006) and its extension, renamed Transforming Irrigation in Southern Africa (LWR/2016/ 137), were funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. Additional funding was contributed by the Australian National University and the CGIAR Water Land and Ecosystems programme. The research reported here draws on the work of many dedicated academic colleagues, and government and farmer partners from Australia, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. We thank Peter Ramshaw and Njongenhle Nyoni for comments on a draft.
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