Portail de l'appui aux politiques et de la gouvernance

Case study

Policy guide to improve water productivity in small-scale agriculture. The case of Burkina Faso, Morocco and Uganda

In developing countries, further progress of irrigation is essential for increasing food security and farmers’ income. However, developing small-scale schemes remains a challenge due to multiple factors that must be taken into consideration, such as diversity of small-scale schemes, a large number of water users, social disharmony over the water use, varying water demands of multi-cropping systems, heterogeneity of equipment over the scheme. Furthermore, on-farm irrigation development has a major role in enhancing Agricultural Water Management (AWM). The previous development methods considered the improvement of single-factor productivity, but agriculture is undergoing a global shift from the single objective of outputs (such as yield or net income) to multiple objectives of increasing outputs while conserving natural resources.

Many pathways towards enhancement of Water Productivity (WP) are directly related to improving overall farm agronomic management (irrigation, fertilization, plant density, plant protection, etc.), while external measures must be applied to ensure sustainability of introduced good practices (lack of input markets, scarce knowledge, poor infrastructures, water regulations, etc.). Thus introducing irrigation practices to farmers must undergo a step-wise process to ensure that costs do not outweigh achievable benefits, and both institutional and technical environment are capable to sustain results. This is the case in smallholders’ schemes, where farmers are poorly resourced. In order to address these issues, the current policy guide presents a combined methodology, which involves practical experiences drawn from FAO work in the three countries as well as researchers’ results to line up a set of feasible measures to improving WP.