Case studies of ten irrigation schemes
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Sub-Regional Office for East and Southern Africa (SAFR)
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© FAO SAFR 2000
Smallholder irrigation development has shown throughout the developing world that it can be used as a key drought mitigation measure and as a vehicle for the long-term agricultural and macro-economic development of a country. Successful smallholder irrigation schemes can result in increased productivity, improved incomes and nutrition, employment creation, food security and drought relief savings for the government. However, socio-economic evaluations of smallholder irrigation schemes are needed at regular intervals in order to be able to derive lessons from past experiences and also help policy makers in formulating sound policies for future development.
This study, carried out in Zimbabwe, is an attempt to contribute to a better understanding of the smallholder irrigation sub-sector by evaluating the socio-economic impact of ten selected smallholder irrigation schemes. Five of the selected schemes were known as being successful and five as being problematic. This report summarizes the methodology and procedures used during the evaluation, the findings, conclusions and recommendations.
The impact assessment and evaluation of the irrigation schemes was carried out through Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), covering farmers, key institutions and local authorities. The study reveals that, whilst some smallholder irrigation schemes can perform well others can actually perform badly. Factors, which determine the performance, include planning, group cohesion, institutional support, strength of the Irrigation Management Committee (IMC), choice of crops, appropriateness of the technical design and commitment of the farmers.