A simulation-based approach to assess the economic viability of smallholding irrigation schemes in South Africa : conceptualisation and first implementation

Perret Sylvain, Touchain Emilie. 2002. A simulation-based approach to assess the economic viability of smallholding irrigation schemes in South Africa : conceptualisation and first implementation. Montpellier : CIRAD, 30 p. N° de rapport : CIRAD-TERA N°02/02

Technical and research document
Published version - Anglais
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Abstract : Government smallholder irrigation schemes (SIS) were developed in former homeland areas of South Africa during the apartheid era, mostly for community food supply purposes. The parastal entities that used to support them have gradually collapsed from the early 1990's. These schemes are now facing serious problems and an uncertain future, owing to low yields, deteriorating infrastructures, limited access to services, weak and unclear institutions regarding water and land, and lack of support. Although representing a small percentage of irrigated land at country level, their location in deep poor rural areas represents a potential for poverty alleviation and food security in such areas. The central and provincial governments aim to both revitalise SIS and curtail the financial burden of their maintenance and operation costs. Most schemes are earmarked for rehabilitation and transfer to users' associations in the Northern Province and the Eastern Cape Province. In recent years, many countries have embarked on a similar process to transfer the management of irrigation systems from government agencies to water users associations (or other private sector entities). However, most professionals involved are still unsure about whether to adopt reforms and how to design and implement them. In South Africa, it is very difficult for decision-makers and operators to evaluate the potential for long-term sustainability, then to organise rehabilitation and transfer accordingly, owing to a context of low participation, weak local institutions, and lack of information regarding farmers' strategies, land tenure arrangements, cropping systems, household socio-economics, and so on, which eventually determine the potential for cost recovery and economic viability. A research team from CIRAD and the University of Pretoria proposes an action-research approach of SIS, in three steps: - Collecting information on the socio-economic and technical circumstances at household and scheme level; - Capturing data into a model that calculates both the costs incurred by scheme management, and the possible contributions by farmers to cover these costs in a context of management by a water users' association; - Running the model on a scenario-testing basis, evaluating the impact of certain measures or decisions, or certain farmers' strategies. [...] (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Périmètre irrigué, Gestion des eaux, Modèle de simulation

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : Afrique du Sud

Mots-clés complémentaires : Association d'usagers de l'eau

Classification Agris : U10 - Mathematical and statistical methods
P10 - Water resources and management

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