WATER-LIFTING TECHNOLOGIES IN WEST AFRICA
During the period 2001 and 2002 the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the International Programme for Technology and Research in Irrigation and Drainage (IPTRID) discussed and acted upon the need to document the type and extent of water-lifting technologies of smallholders in West Africa. It was felt by both institutions that there was a wealth of knowledge in the region at the resource-poor communities level that was being utilized on an ad hoc basis, and more often than not disappearing within those same communities in detriment to other potential beneficiaries. IFAD and IPTRID decided to jointly collaborate in an effort to develop a programme directed towards technology transfer and, equally important, to the identification of research uptake that could be adjusted to the existing physical, socio-economic and cultural setting.
IFAD then made a generous grant of US$100 000 to IPTRID for the design and implementation of the first step of the Programme, which was foreseen to require a mid- to long-term effort. During this first phase the state of water-lifting technology in Ghana, Niger and Nigeria was documented and surveyed. The exercise was assumed directly relevant to adjacent countries such as Cameroon, Chad and Gambia. Furthermore, the expectations were that other West African countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Liberia, etc. would derive indirect benefits from existing constraints and lessons learned in the original targeted countries.
With the above in mind, a brainstorming session was held at IPTRID headquarters at FAO, Rome. Among other things, the decision was taken to carry out diagnostic and fact-finding work that would clarify, evaluate and document situations and applications of both constraints and successful application of water-lifting technologies in the first three targeted countries. The Programme was to cover the preparation of decision-making guides on matching water-lifting technologies with specific field situations. It was also to develop quality control methods and regimes for manufacturers of equipment, prepare indicators and procedures for Monitoring and Evaluation and, last but not least, to study credit arrangements, subsidy policies and mechanisms, marketing conditions, etc.
Work proceeded on schedule in 2001 and into 2002; towards the end of that year the study was well advanced and the insights into the future water-lifting related Programme were put together. Unfortunately, at that same time, IPTRID went into a period of redefining its strategy and mandate and this particular activity suffered serious follow-up delays. IPTRID highly regrets this outcome but is engaged in bringing the activity back on track. IPTRID reached an agreement with IFAD to proceed with the publication of this Final Report convinced, as both institutions are, that the material is still valid and relevant and has not lost its importance. A follow-up will be carried out and the report is to be presented in Nigeria during a specific report-findings seminar. Afterwards, further discussions are to be held in order to seek ways to advance the proposed Programme presented in the Main Report.