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1. Introduction

The International Programme for Technology and Research in Irrigation and Drainage (IPTRID) has undertaken, on behalf of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a preliminary study of appropriate water-lifting technologies in West Africa. Its declared aim is ‘to design an applied research and technology uptake programme on the current status and the potential for the development of water-lifting technologies in the region, with particular regard to resource-poor communities'. The background to the study and the proposed Programme is expressed in the Terms of Reference of this report as follows:

‘Demand for water-lifting technology is strong in the West Africa region for domestic and drinking-water as well as for food production. In general, drinking-water involves the lifting of water from groundwater (often many tens of metres) but in relatively low volumes. Irrigation, on the other hand, is supplied from surface waters or shallow groundwater but in much greater quantities. Irrigation ‘consumes' about 87 percent of the water withdrawn for use in the region. Technologies that can improve the efficiency of lifting and using water for irrigation can reduce waste and release more water for other sectors, particularly domestic use, and improve crop husbandry and production.

‘It is evident that the water-lifting technologies in use in West Africa are limited in their application due to a combination of technical, economic and social reasons. Some of the more evident reasons for the low rate of uptake are purchase price, running-cost and lack of support services for maintenance, repairs and spare-parts. There is a pressing need to identify opportunities, constraints and appropriate actions on water-lifting technologies, for agriculture, in the region. The successful use of surface and groundwater by resource-poor families depends greatly upon their access to appropriate water-lifting technologies and the availability of suitable sources of water.'

The preliminary study began with rapid field data collection and assessment in three parts of the West Africa region: Niger, Ghana and the northern states of Nigeria. The aim of these exercises was to:

The information-collecting reports were prepared by others, independently of this study. They can be found in Annexes D, E and F. These reports were followed by a brainstorming meeting in Rome on 18 and 19 October 2001, leading to this present document.

This report presents the work done for IPTRID in preparation of the Programme. Its objectives (which were extended in December 2001 after the completion of a preliminary study report) were to:

Chapter 2 discusses the scope of the Programme, and hence of this report. Chapter 3 describes the available technologies and the criteria for choosing between them. Chapter 4 summarizes the information gathered so far on the status of water-lifting and water-lifting technology, and its future potential. Chapter 5 discusses the relevant problems, constraints and issues and Chapter 6 presents the resulting proposals for the content of a research and uptake programme. Proposals for the Programme's implementation, management and financing are in Chapter 7. Finally, Chapter 8 discusses indicators to monitor progress. Background information on West Africa (from other authors) is in the Annexes D, E, F and G, while the other Annexes give details supporting the chapters.

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