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Recommendations of the Working Groups

We, the participants of the workshop on Irrigation Technology Transfer, held in Harare, Zimbabwe, 14 to 17 April 1997, recommend to our respective governments and institutions to work together in:

(1) defining and implementing comprehensive strategies for smallholder irrigation development;

(2) launching national action oriented programmes for the promotion of efficient irrigation technologies;

(3) launching action oriented programmes for the development of local water resources;

(4) launching programmes for national capacity building in irrigation design and use.

Comprehensive strategy

Evidence from Asian countries shows that smallholder irrigation can make a significant contribution towards poverty alleviation, rural employment and food security. In the light of this evidence, it is recommended that governments in the sub-Saharan region give high priority to smallholder irrigation. There is need to formulate a comprehensive strategy to promote small-scale irrigation, including the accessibility of appropriate and affordable technology.

Such a strategy should include the following components:

· Review existing regulations and policies that influence small-scale irrigation.

· Review administrative regulations and restrictions on marketing and trade of irrigation equipment.

· Review import duty and tax structures, including import duties on raw materials, machine tools and irrigation equipment.

· Define the role of government institutions, private sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in promoting the adoption of improved irrigation technologies by small farmers. The private sector and NGOs should be encouraged to participate. However, it is recognized that government should play an active part in the identification and development of appropriate technologies and in the wider issues of rural infrastructural development.

· Develop a legal framework to ensure land and water rights of smallholders.

· Develop policies and guidelines so that watersheds are considered as basic units for planning and development of small-scale irrigation. Encourage mechanisms that will permit balancing of benefits and costs of water development in a river basin.

· Widening the knowledge base with regard to:

- Farmer knowledge: Assessment of technology needs, on-field and on-station demonstrations of technology, deployment of irrigation technology advisers.

- Design of systems and equipment: Training technicians in irrigation equipment and system design to work in both private and public sectors.

- Design norms: Review existing design norms/criteria and modify with the aim to simplify and reduce costs of small-scale systems. Ensure that schemes are designed for operation and management by the users.

- Quality: Encourage voluntary submission of products for certification and verification of design characteristics.

- Marketing: Promote the concepts of rural marketing through private sector and NGO initiatives.

· Promote local manufacturing of equipment, complemented by imports. Encourage local manufacturers, joint ventures and foreign investors through:

- Tax incentives
- Provision or guarantee of credit
- Provision of services - warehousing, building sites and connection to services
- Simplify administrative procedures for licensing
- Regulations for the repatriation of profits

· Encourage private investment in irrigation through provision of credit and financial incentives targeted to smallholder irrigation.

· Improvement of rural infrastructure, specifically relating to roads and energy supply.

Action programmes

The following-action programmes are recommended to national governments, NGOs, the private sector and the donor community, for coordinated implementation.

Adaptation and Dissemination of Small-scale Irrigation Technologies

Experiences in Africa and abroad (South Asia) have shown that low-cost technologies could be easily disseminated and would rapidly boost the development of small-scale irrigation from aquifers and surface water resources. Among these techniques are:

· Manual drilling technologies such as hand augured wells for shallow aquifers
· Mechanical drilling in deeper aquifers
· Human powered water lifting devices, such as treadle pumps and others
· Gasoline, kerosene, diesel and electric powered pumps
· On-farm irrigation distribution systems for smallholder groups

National programmes aimed at promoting such technologies should be jointly undertaken by the public and private sectors and NGOs. These programmes should include awareness building and participation of beneficiaries (including women), training of beneficiaries, field testing, when necessary, and commercialization of equipment.

Programme on communal small-scale irrigation, water development and conservation

This programme is aimed at improving farmers' access to water for small-scale irrigation, through the construction of micro-dams and water diversion structures, using cost-effective technologies. The programme also entails farmer participation in all phases of irrigation development, such as construction of dams and diversion structures, wells and other water sources, on-farm water management and soil and water conservation activities within the watershed.

To achieve the above goals, the programme will develop appropriate guides on planning, site selection, design, construction of cost-effective structures, operation and maintenance of such structures as well as on-farm water management. The programme also includes activities designed to promote local manufacture of appropriate equipment for the construction of small irrigation works, arrive at optimal combinations of mechanical and labour inputs in small-scale irrigation development and other actions that will ensure technical, economic and social viability of small-scale irrigation schemes. More specifically, the programme includes the following components for implementation:

· Developing a manual on simple design and standards for micro-dam and river diversion structures including:

- site selection;
- design parameters; construction methods and management;
- operation and maintenance; and
- on-farm water management.

· Promoting local manufacture of equipment for small-scale irrigation construction, such as improved manual, animal drawn and tractor powered compactors, transport carts, scrapers, scoops; etc.

· Assessing performance and status of existing small-scale irrigation schemes, water points, dams and traditional schemes, and recommending action to improve their performance, rehabilitate infrastructure and restructure the existing management system.

· Studies on the relative roles of labour and machinery in small-scale irrigation construction in the context of cost reduction, employment generation, availability of labour and related socio-economic factors.

· Pilot projects to evaluate options of incentives and other mechanisms that ensure equity of benefits to upsteam and downstream communities.

Programme to strengthen national capacity in small-scale irrigation development

The programme aims at national capacity building in small-scale irrigation development which includes the following components:

· A programme directed towards strengthening the capacity of the private sector, the public sector and NGOs. This programme will cover the areas of planning, designing, construction and water management related to manual and mechanized drilling, water lifting devices and on-farm irrigation scheme development. The programme will have a strong element of on-the-job training and will also incorporate the strengthening of the irrigation component of agricultural engineering programmes of national universities, through exchanges, short courses and research grants.

· Provision of technical, in-service training to technicians and extension agents on construction, maintenance, operation of micro-dams and river diversions, well construction, on-farm water management and watershed management.

· Organization of specialized training for engineers, graduates, national consultants and contractors in planning, design, site selection and construction of micro-dams and river diversion structures through Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries (TCDC) and other appropriate mechanisms. Such training could be conducted in the countries of trainees and/or in countries where the expertise and experience exist.

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