Smallholder irrigation is seen by the Government of Mozambique as a useful approach to improve agricultural productivity, increase food security, reduce poverty and increase resilience to climate variability. However, most Government schemes do not function properly, and irrigation is not as productive and sustainable as it could be. Farmer-led irrigation development describes a process where smallholder farmers are the leading agents in developing irrigated production systems. Research suggests that the area covered by farmer-led irrigation may be twice that of Government-led schemes, indicating that farmers do see irrigation as beneficial and are investing in expansion of irrigated areas. The main goal of FASIMO is to research and identify “User driven approaches to make Government and farmer led smallholder irrigation schemes in Mozambique more productive, self-sustaining and equitable (FASIMO)”.
Objectives to address this are:
- To investigate how the current formal and informal institutions in Government and farmer led smallholder irrigation affect scheme functioning;
- To assess the effectiveness of innovative and user driven approaches in supporting Government funded and smallholder farmer-led irrigation;
- To contribute to irrigation Policy development and changes in practices for Government and multilateral agencies.
Participatory approaches will be used to understand the current situation for women, men and youth farmers and the differences between Government and farmer-led schemes. User driven approaches will be developed to improve productivity, profitability and equity. Comparative analysis will draw out key lessons for communication. The project will also develop guidelines for mapping irrigated areas and estimate water use for Policy development.
The project will directly engage with 12 irrigation schemes in Gaza and Manica provinces, benefiting about 1000 farmers. Cooperation with other projects, Government and private sector, will allow the project to reach many more farmers. Using the outcomes from previous research it is estimated that 80% of farmers may benefit and could have a 140% increased income, approximately $1,500. Beneficial social outcomes can be: reduced conflict, more young farmers and women participating in irrigation, increased willingness to participate in community institutions and inequality reduction.