Smallholder Irrigation and Water Use Programme

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Smallholder Irrigation and Water Use Programme

Smallholder Irrigation and Water Use Programme

In rural Zambia women are generally responsible for cultivating gardens in order to supplement the family diet with fruit and vegetables during the months when food crop production declines. Smallholders have developed informal small-scale irrigation schemes in the past, but these have not worked efficiently. Improved irrigation systems are particularly needed in Western, Central, Southern, Lusaka and Eastern provinces, which also have the greatest potential for the rehabilitation of small dams.

The programme provided much-needed overall support for improved irrigation and water use by small-scale farmers in order to boost supplementary food production and increase resilience to drought. It helped redefine the long-term role of the relevant government institutions in developing policy, by planning and monitoring water resources for irrigation so that smallholder farmers own and manage the irrigation systems. It also made improvements to existing systems of water usage. The programme’s objectives included:

  • reinforcing informal irrigation systems
  • transferring ownership and management of government irrigation systems to farmers
  • organizing small-scale farmers into water users’ associations
  • strengthening local institutions


Source: IFAD

Status: Closed
Approval Date
12 April 1995
1995 - 2002
Agricultural Development
Total Project Cost
US$ 11.18 million
IFAD Financing
US$ 6.36 million
Co-financiers (International)
World Bank: International Development Association US$ 1.21 million
Co-financiers (Domestic)
Beneficiaries US$ 1.07 million
National Government US$ 2.55 million
Financing terms
Highly Concessional
Project ID

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