The Mozambique government and other development partners have invested significant efforts in revitalizing and expanding smallholder irrigation schemes to improve agricultural productivity, increase food security, reduce poverty, and increase resilience to climate variability. Their efforts are in addition to farmer-led irrigation schemes, estimated to be at least twice the size of government-funded smallholder irrigation schemes. Despite these investments, inefficiencies remain and constrain the performance of both schemes.
This project aims to improve economic efficiency and institutional sustainability by identifying the challenges facing 12 government-funded smallholder and farmer-led irrigation schemes in the Gaza and Manica provinces of Mozambique. Once the challenges are identified, a combination of technical, social, and institutional innovations — such as best soil and water management practices; business plans and market linkages; and water user associations — will be launched with the goal of benefitting approximately 51,000 farmers. A comparative case study analysis of the changes in the management, productivity levels, and profitability levels for farmers within the 12 schemes will also be conducted.
The project is expected to double the yields of selected crops, increase crop prices due to market linkages, expand production, and increase farmer incomes. By generating stronger evidence on how to design and effectively manage smallholder irrigation schemes, this project intends to inform the design of future irrigation schemes in the country.
This project is funded through the second phase of the Cultivate Africa’s Future Fund (CultiAF-2), a joint program of IDRC and the Australian International Food Security Research Centre of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. CultiAF supports research to achieve long-term food security in eastern and southern Africa.