Bruce Lankford

Systems- & people-centred water and irrigation

Policy for irrigated agricultural growth in Africa

Policy analysis of interventions to expand and rehabilitate irrigation in Sub-Saharan Africa

African irrigation policy

Since my main geographical area of expertise has been in Sub-Saharan Africa, I have brought together a number of other research and work experiences to produce policy documents that address how irrigation in SSA might be sustainably expanded and/or rehabilitated. I argue this has to be done while recognising the specific challenges that irrigators and donors face, while at the same time distinguishing the difference between support for vegetable production (row crops) and grain production (field/broadacre crops). I recommend a comprehensive approach that welcomes a variety of technologies alongside flexible support services that prioritise local knowledges, resources and skills.

This work is provided in the following links:

Wiggins, S., and B. Lankford. 2019. Farmer-led irrigation in sub-Saharan Africa: synthesis of current understandings. Synthesis Report of the DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme. Overseas Development Institute, UK.

Lankford, BA (2005) Rural infrastructure to contribute to African agricultural development: the case of irrigation. Report for The Commission for Africa, School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich (PDF).

Lankford, B.A. 2009. The right irrigation? Policy directions for agricultural water management in sub-Saharan Africa. Water Alternatives 2(3): 476-480.

Also see my presentation “Watering Africa’s Sleeping Giant” at the Future Agricultures/SOAS June 2010 workshop on the World Bank Report ‘Awakening Africa’s Sleeping Giant’: Lankford water sleeping giant Africa irrigation

Presentation using the Commission for Africa experience on how science does not inform irrigation policy given at ODI’s meeting on groundwater in SSA on 21 March 2014.

Presentation at Newcastle University on research priorities for irrigation and agriculture in Africa.  This combines a number of themes: Lankford Grand Challenges Africa Irrig & IWRM final

Other publications

Also, more generally on water issues in Africa, these may be downloaded: Lankford, B. A. and Dickinson, S. 2007. Water management issues and problems in Africa, CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources 2007 2, No. 032.

An examination of the conditions that encourage or discourage uptake of rainwater harvesting. Bunclark, L and Lankford B.A. 2011. Rainwater harvesting: A suitable poverty reduction strategy for small-scale farmers in developing countries? Waterlines Journal

Links to this publication offer other insights on the potential role of large-scale irrigation in Africa: Lankford, B.A. 2007. The Rise of Large Scale Formal Smallholder Irrigation Schemes in Swaziland; An Appropriate Solution for Rural Livelihoods and Agricultural Production. DEV Working Paper No.1. School of International Development, University of East Anglia.

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