Tuesday, August 28, 2012
By Charles Dhewa
IFAD’s work on Scaling Up Micro Irrigation Systems (SCAMPIS) attracted a full house during the first day of Stockholm World Water Week (26 August 2012). In a session entitled “Micro-Irrigation for Food Security: The Untold Stories of Forgotten Stakeholders”, participants listened to fascinating stories from Guatemala, Madagascar and India where 30 000 people have been moved out of poverty through the SCAMPIS project. The project has shown the benefits of combining investment in Agriculture Water Management with innovation involving the private sector.
The session generated thoughtful and useful comments from the participants. Some of the emerging issues and questions include:
- Return on investment in Micro Irrigation Systems;
- The need for scaling up Micro Irrigation Systems to consider the depletion of blue water (water in rivers, dams, streams and other reservoirs) which is used by irrigation;
- Need to look at self adoption by people outside the projects who learn by observing and implementing the technology in their own contexts;
- Men should also work in the field rather than leaving the bulk of the work to women and children;
- It is important to explore and expand markets for crops because this determines investment. Scaling up depends on market demand;
- While micro credit should be considered, it is not suitable for the majority of smallholders due to high interest rates, among other factors such as expectation for obtaining subsidies;
- While most technologies tend to exclude the poorest of the poor, Micro Irrigation Systems are suitable for these vulnerable groups; and, it is also important to explore alternative energy systems for pumping water.
The main conclusion was that the main focus is not to scale up technology but to reduce poverty and improve the lives of rural poor people.