Bruce Lankford

Systems & people-centred water and irrigation

Irrigation livelihoods

Irrigation livelihoods – balancing investments and technologies

In this work I argue that in the right environments, farmers are on the whole extremely interested in irrigation as a means of production for the livelihoods benefits that irrigation brings. This interest (or disinterest) and the obstacles they face should therefore be the entry point for irrigation policy. However supporting irrigation can be divided into three main categories depending on where on theorised S-shaped ‘uptake curve’ systems are:

  1. fostering conditions without over-expenditure if there is little interest prior to a tipping point;
  2. managing conditions and access during accelerating interest and uptake of irrigation technologies
  3. and mediating access and control once technology and areal irrigation has met available water supply – the ‘S’ plateau

The work is divided into three main topics:

A). Research I conducted for the LADDER project in Tanzania.

The citations are:

  1. Lankford, B. A. 2003. Irrigation-based livelihood trends in river basins: theory and policy implications for irrigation development. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth (28): 817-825.
  2. Lankford, B.A. 2004. Irrigation, Livelihoods and River Basins. In Rural Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction Policies (eds. F. Ellis, and H. A. Freeman) Routledge, London. Book chapter.
  3. Lankford, B.A. 2002. Irrigation, Livelihoods and River Basins. LADDER working paper No. 14. University of East Anglia, UK.

B). In addition in the early 2000s, I completed two combined consultancies for DFID on their Sustainable Livelihoods Project in Talas, Kyrgyzstan. The two reports are found here:

  1. KYRGYZSTAN 2003. Irrigation Study for Aral and Chest-Tobe Communities 2nd Input, Talas Oblast. For DFID Project Sustainable Livelihoods for Livestock Producing Communities, SLLPC. 50 pp.
  2. KYRGYZSTAN 2002. Irrigation Study for Aral and Chest-Tobe Communities, Talas Oblast. For DFID Project Sustainable Livelihoods for Livestock Producing Communities, SLLPC. 46 pp.

C). In 2003, I conducted a desk-study on reform of lowveld sugarcane production in Swaziland. This was to be for a book on smallholder irrigation in Southern Africa, which was subsequently cancelled. The citation is:

  1. 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.