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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 513050
Title Irrigation is made complex: Understanding the logic of state interventions in farmer-led irrigation development in Mozambique
Author(s) Liebrand, J.; Beekman, P.W.
Event Climate change interventions as sources of conflict, competing claims and new mobilities. Increasing the resilience of communities and cities in the South, Utrecht, 2016-11-24/2016-11-25
Department(s) Water Resources Management
Publication type Abstract in scientific journal or proceedings
Publication year 2016
Abstract Explorative research in Mozambique suggests that over 100.000 ha of irrigated agriculture have been developed through dispersed small-scale grassroots initiatives and innovations (ARF, 2015). In literature, these initiatives and innovations are known as farmer-led irrigation development (Nkoka et al., 2014, Beekman et al., 2014) or small and private irrigation (De Fraiture and Giordano, 2014). In contrast, the National Irrigation Strategy of Mozambique (2015) mentions only about 9000 ha (under 100 ha) while a World Bank (2011) study identified 10.000 ha in 7 districts of Central Mozambique. One of the reasons why farmer-led irrigation continuous to be grossly overlooked and underestimated is that “irrigation” is traditionally defined as a domain of technology and engineering, an old problem in agricultural policy making. Because areas irrigated by farmers typically have few (durable) structures and no formal management structures, experts do not recognize it as irrigation – it is invisible for them. And when they occasionally recognize it, they tend to qualify grassroots irrigation as ‘small’, ‘traditional’, ‘unplanned’, ‘informal’, ‘illegal’ and ‘unsustainable’(De Fraiture and Giordano, 2014). Illustratively, our project partner in Mozambique from the Instituto Superior Politécnico de Manica-Chimoio reflected on her own education in agronomy engineering, and explained to us that “irrigation is made complex” [by teachers]. She meant to say that irrigation is a topic in the agricultural curriculum that is almost purely taught as a subject of calculating water flows and efficiencies, and designing structures. This tradition is linked to a professional practice that promotes standard models for irrigation development, based on universal engineering principles. It is a tradition in irrigation which is difficult to challenge in development planning, because it (also) aligns with vested interests. It feeds into a culture of building things, enabling governments, donors and market actors to ‘show’ modernisation. It also feeds into state elite’s objectives for national integration, enabling governments, for instance, to formalize land administration or regulate water flows and unruly subjects. Based on four case studies in the Beira Agricultural Growth Corridor, we explore the logic of state interventions in farmer-led irrigation in Mozambique, focussing on processes of visibility and formalization.
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