Farmer led innovation processes in irrigated agriculture are poorly understood despite their substantial contribution to rural and economic development, food security and poverty alleviation. Research in Mozambique suggests that over 100,000 hectares of irrigated agriculture have been developed by small Mozambican farmers, often through local initiatives and innovations. Most of which are not recognized/visible by/to the private sector, donors, and governments.
The project aims to contribute to a better understanding of the processes, triggers and impacts of these developments through: a) the co-production of innovative research and assessment methodologies, b) the identification of key (f)actors that either facilitate and/or constrain these developments and c) the development of effective strategies and tools that foster and strengthen the unrealized potentials of smallholder entrepreneurship and their engagement with the private and public sector. The results will be of great relevance for interventions aimed at catalysing Mozambique’s irrigated agro-productive sector.
Farmer-led irrigation takes place in a vibrant setting, through informal networks:
- Consequently, remains mostly off radar and therefore underestimated and appreciated
- Suffers from a technology bias in formal policy setting that further disregards what is visible
Possible modes of engagement with the FAID-sector:
- Support to existing (informal) farmer networks through:
- Farmer training, subsidies/credits for inputs, extension
- Small technical improvements on existing irrigating farmers practices
- Support to existing (informal) trader networks through: market and value chain development, information services, credit facilities
These are open doors but as long as the FAID sector remains unrecognized:
- Formal efforts remain focused on creating this new “enabling environment” instead of working with the existing informal sector
- We propose a redirect not a complete change of policy