Transforming Small-Scale Irrigation in sub-Saharan Africa

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Small-scale irrigation schemes have been identified as a major vehicle to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers and their communities in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), including improving food security, education, health and adapting to climate change. Such improvements are critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. However, small-scale irrigation has, for a complex set of reasons widely discussed in the literature, failed to live up to these expectations.

It is increasingly acknowledged that multiple interventions are needed to transform rural communities into sustainable communities, creating jobs, food security and prosperous livelihoods for their residents. This event will discuss what kind of approaches are required to create rural transformation and development.

About the session

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) funded the project Transforming Small-scale Irrigation in Southern Africa (TISA) from 2013. The proposal was to use innovative institutions and technologies to address the complex set of challenges and barriers inhibiting the profitability of this sector, and its ability to initiate the process of transforming small scale irrigation schemes from underperforming to sustainable and profitable systems.

This session will report on the outcomes of the first nine years of TISA, which has had a remarkable impact on the livelihoods of smallholder farming families. We also outline our vision for how this success should inform a future program to develop circular food systems to accelerate sustainable rural development.