Issue 23 – August 2013

Scaling up in IFAD, a definition



Scaling up the micro irrigation technology in Madagascar © IFAD's projects    

As part of its most recent replenishment of funding from member states, IFAD has set ambitious, accelerated targets for reducing rural poverty between now and 2015. To reach those targets – and to help meet the Millennium Development Goals on poverty reduction –IFAD is institutionalizing Scaling Up into its operations. 

What is Scaling Up?

Scaling Up means replicating, adapting and expanding successful policies, programmes or projects in a geographic area and over time, to reach a greater number of rural poor in a sustainable manner. It means not only taking small projects to a larger scale, but also taking to a larger scale any intervention that has multiplier effects, such as policy and institutional reforms.

Types of Scaling up

Why Scaling up?



Dawa thinking: reflecting on scaling up successful approaches in Uganda © IFAD's projects    

Because of the ambitious global development goals, IFAD needs to scale up successful interventions to reach the widest number of poor rural people, currently estimated at one billion globally. With the current prospect of heightened competition for water and land, smallholders are increasingly under threat for their livelihood. This is further exacerbated by the effect of climate change. Development programmes which are scattered and fragmented and lack coordination are no longer able to respond to the magnitude of the situation.


IFAD Scaling Up Agenda

IFAD's Scaling up agenda was conducted in three phases, as follows:

Phase 1 (2009-10)
In that phase, the organisation undertook an evaluation of its innovation strategy through country case studies, institutional reviews, and initial interactions with like-minded partners to better understand what works, what does not and why.  The management endorsed scaling up as a critical mission (cf.  IFAD’s 2011-2014 Strategic Framework)

Phase 2 (2011-12)
In that phase, IFAD undertook more country case studies and four cross cutting reviews, and started developing staff guidance tools on scaling up. It also built more partnership for greater outreach, and defined “scaling up is the most important business model change”.

Changing IFAD business model:

IFAD scaling up Phase 3 (2013-15)
In its third phase, IFAD set as an objective to internalise the scaling up agenda into various components of IFAD operations. As part of the implementation of this phase, the organisation is conducting workshops as well as write-shops to redefine among others how to go about design of country programmes and projects for scale,  how to supervise and support implementation for scale and how to build partnerships, carry out policy dialogue, and manage knowledge for scale.

One of these workshops took place in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia on 18-20 June 2013, during which staff from the East and Southern Africa Division worked on scaling up their operations. In particular, they worked on the pathways to scaling up, such as:

One of the difficulties of implementing a successful scaling up approach to change the mindset from “one project at a time” to asking “what next, if this project works?”, or in other words, to develop a scaling up strategy early on and take proactive steps to plan and prepare for it. The idea is to scale up a result rather than scale up a project.

Furthermore, scaling up doesn’t necessarily means innovation. Not every innovation can or should be scaled up, not every scaling up needs to involve an innovation, but most scaling up involves adaptation. Innovation and scaling up are separate even if they are linked processes. They are generally complementary, but can compete for resources.

The goal to develop a systematic scaling up in IFAD

Ethiopia: Best practice for scaling up microfinance institutions at national level

A programme to support the development of microfinance institutions in Ethiopia introduced in the previous decade, has had results beyond expectations, so much so that it is now a best practice example for the scaling up of development programmes.

Ethiopia's Rural Financial Intermediation Programme (RUFIP), supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), enabled more than 3 million poor rural households to get out of poverty by accessing financial services. Now in its second phase, RUFIP-II programme aims to scale up delivery of financial services at national level to reach almost 7 million households by 2019. "The new programme is currently scaled-up at national level with a focus on development of the microfinance sector and microfinance institutions," explained Robson Mutandi, Country Director for Ethiopia.

The overall objective of the programme is to provide poor rural people with sustainable access to a range of financial services through a nationwide network of some 30 Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and about 5,500 rural savings and credit cooperatives (RUSACCOs) as well as 100 unions of RUSACCOs. It is supporting these rural financial institutions by developing their institutional capacity to manage credit funds and increasing their professional skills to deliver tailored financial services to their community member. It is also helping to improve the policy environment as well as introducing new regulatory and supervisory parameters.

While significant growth has been realized over the past decade, the rural financial markets of Ethiopia are largely under-developed. Inadequate access to financial services is one of the major bottlenecks impeding economic growth and household incomes in rural areas where there is still a huge demand-supply gap. MFIs and RUSACCOs are the only formal financial institutions providing financial services to poor rural households, with an increasing coverage of women, who account for nearly 50 per cent of the client base. "RUSACCOs in particular have certain comparative advantages. They decentralized, community-owned financial systems that are organized in remote pastoral regions. They can decide on financial products which fit their members' economic profile and smallholder families’ specific demand at the village level," explained Michael Hamp, rural finance specialist at IFAD. "The borrower's transaction costs are quite minimal. As member owned community institutions, any surplus generated remains with them."



Asnaketch standing in front of the injera oven she purchased with her first micro-credit loan © Dominique Magada    

Asnaketch Feyessa is a member of the Buusa Gonofa (BG) Microfinance Institution, which was established over ten years ago to provide financial services to isolated communities in the Oromia region to help them improve their livelihoods. Based in Chencho, a small market town an hour north of Addis, she is one of the most successful members of the MFI. She took her first loan about 10 years ago, when she borrowed 300 birr (US$17) to start an injera business. Injera is the national pancake type of bread made of tef, a cereal which grows mainly in Ethiopia.

Asnaketch needed the initial funds to build the clay oven used to cook injera. At the time, she was living in cheap accommodation provided by the local council, where she had no kitchen and no cooking facilities. Her business took off, she got many customers who came daily to buy her injera, and she was able to borrow more money to buy a cow to sell milk. She went back to the MFI several times as her business continued to expand. Her husband was also employed in the business and his salary was used to repay the loan.




Asnaketch's employees working in her bar-café © Dominique Magada    

Today, she has reached the limit of what her local MFI can offer. The last loan she took out amounted to 30,000 birr (US$1,700), representing 100 times her initial borrowings. In addition to her flourishing injera business, she runs a small café/bar where guests can eat simple food and drink alcohol, she owns five cows as well as sheep and goats, and she has built a nice house for herself and her family. She has three employees, supports nine people, including her own four children, and has plans to expand into the transport business and open a bigger shop. She would like to involve her grown-up son in the business, so he could resign from his low-paid government job, but her problem now is the lack of adequate financing.

Targeting remote pastoral areas

RUFIP II is expanding the delivery of financial services to access regions with limited facilities particularly in pastoral and agro-pastoral lowlands of the country, mainly by encouraging MFIs to open up branches in these areas and establishing about 1 000 new RUSACCOs (and 45 unions). This will be done after a feasibility study in collaboration with partners such as USAID, ILO and the Pastoral Forum who have comparative advantage on work with pastoral communities in these regions. The programme will also focus on consolidation and development of the 4 500 RUSACCOs and 54 unions of RUSACCOs already established under the first RUFIP programme.

Additionally, Ethiopian MFIs have designed their processes and products to effectively respond to identified needs and priorities of the rural poor with features such as: group based lending with group collateral; compulsory savings; small loans with gradual increase over 4 or 5 loan cycles; etc. MFI client screening through local contacts and meetings and formation into small groups is oriented towards selection of poor households. Some of the MFIs use tools such as Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI) score card methodology to identify clients and keep track of their progress. The institutional development support under the programme is aimed at refining and sharpening the targeting strategies.

"Some of the MFIs have put in place some interesting targeting mechanisms to follow their client base," explained Robson Mutandi. "They can track their clients moving from extremely poor to poor and less poor through building economic activities using MFI loans. The programme will refine such targeting strategies".

Lessons learned from the first RUFIP programme

The new Programme design has incorporated the key lessons learned from the IFAD country programme and the MFI and RUSACCO sub-sectors over the past ten years. The most important ones include the fact that MFIs face a serious liquidity problem which has hindered outreach to the rural poor. Having said that, RUFIP-I had created the institutional basis and motivation for transformation of the microfinance sector. One improvement would be the creation of an apex institution for the microfinance sector which would help to expand growth of the sector in a coordinated and sustainable manner. "Still, the leverage of commercial funding by MFIs under RUFIP-I has been significant and continues to have great potential," said Michael Hamp.

Currently, less than 15 per cent of rural households have access to savings and credit services, and the micro-insurance market is not at-all developed. To improve the situation, the government has put in place a legal framework for the establishment and operation of MFIs and RUSACCOs, and the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), the country's central bank, has recently amended the MFI code, enabling them to provide micro insurance services, and plans to integrate MFIs into the national payment system. Thus MFIs would be in a position to provide integrated micro financial services.

In addition, the programme will require that RUSACCOs strive to have a minimum of 50% women membership. Special innovative products suitable for women will be scaled up. "To sum up, the objective of the programme is microfinance sector development without any area targeting, as the programme is scaled up at national level with a focus on institutional development," said Robson Mutandi. "However, there is still a priority for expansion of MFI operations and establishment of new RUSACCOs in remote pastoral regions where access to financial services is difficult."

By the end of the Programme (June 2019), it is envisaged that incremental savings by Micro Finance Programme beneficiaries would amount to about US$ 1.1 billion and total loans to US$ 1.85 billion.

Project name: Rural Financial Intermediation Programme Phase II
IFAD loan contact: Robson Mutandi, Country Director,, Abebe Zerihun, Country Programme Manager,

Uganda: Replicating an oil palm production model

With the undisputed success of the Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP) which introduced for the first time in the country oil palm growing and palm oil production, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is now scaling up the project to extend its geographical reach and get many more smallholder farmers out of poverty. 

The purpose of the initial VODP project was to reduce Uganda’s heavy reliance on vegetable oil imports (palm oil in particular which used to account for 90 per cent of oil imports) by supporting palm oil production, agro-processing and marketing. The VODP project was also the first large scale Public Private Partnership (PPP) for oil palm development, which was an innovation when it started in 2004. To this end, the Government of Uganda signed a tripartite agreement with Bidco Uganda Limited (BUL), a consortium made up of several companies. Under the partnership, Bidco invested US$120 million to develop oil palm plantations, a mill and build the refinery complex.

As oil palm was a new crop, a 6,500 hectares nucleus estate was planted to be used as a model for smallholder farmers and bridge the knowledge gap. Another 3,500 hectares were to be planted by smallholders.  The oil palms were first introduced on Bugala Island, Kalangala district, in Lake Victoria. A mill was built on the estate to process crude palm oil to supply a refinery in Jinja in Central Uganda, also built by Bidco and which started operations in 2005. By integrating small-scale production with large-scale processing, small producers were to become part of the mainstream economy. "At the start, many smallholder farmers were quite reluctant to join commercial oil palm growing. It took a lot of convincing to encourage them to start growing a crop that would take four years before harvest,  and a crop that was completely new to the country, so there was a lot of resistance to it," explained Alessandro Marini, Country Programme Manager for IFAD. Those farmers, who had land and were convinced by the idea of growing oil palm on a commercial level, were supported by the project to access loans for land preparation, farm maintenance, seedlings, fertilizers as well as technical support.



Euralia's new house, with a garage, built with her income from oil palms © Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP)    

Harvesting and selling of fresh fruit bunches to the palm oil mill started in 2010. Currently, the number of oil palm farmers amounts to around 1600, of which 600 are women. Since the start of harvesting in 2010, farmers have seen the benefit of harvesting the crop and Kalangala is progressively being transformed into a modern district with improved infrastructure and facilities such as banks. Most of the farmers have been able to build permanent houses and send their children to better schools on the mainland. One such farmer is Nabbosa Euralia: “Before the Oil Palm project I was just a housewife. My husband supported us through fishing and I cultivated a small plot of land for some food. If my husband didn’t give me money, then I could not buy salt or soap. When they came to teach us about growing oil palm, my husband said he would continue fishing as he didn’t want to be a farmer," she explains. "So I registered and decided to become a farmer myself. Now, I am so happy I am a farmer; I have built the house in which we live. So far, I have bought one plot in the trading centre in Kalangala, but I want to get more farm land."

Despite its undisputed success and the decision to upscale VODP into VODP 2, the project has not been without some challenges. The slow uptake of the idea by smallholder farmers meant that fewer farmers than those targeted were able to benefit from the first phase. It is only now, two years after the close of the first project, that the target of 3500 hectares has finally been reached. In addition, the high cost of transportation of the fruit to the mill has also been a hindering factor (for those with land on the outlying islands) which is now taken into account in the forthcoming second phase. "We are currently undertaking a study on the economic viability of transporting the fruit to the mill to extract the oil," says Marini. "Depending on the result of the study, we will decide which new areas to select."

In the second phase of the project, oil palm activities will start on Buvuma Island in Mukono District, where the initial nucleus estate and mill will be replicated with the same ratio of 6500 hectares for the estate and 3500 for smallholders. In Kalangala district however, where activities will continue, the ratio will now change as more smallholders accounting for another 1200 hectares will benefit from the project. "Also, in Buvuma, we will now set a ceiling of four hectares per smallholder in order to extend the base and attract more smallholders, rather than seeing fewer smallholders with bigger land surface," explained Marini.

In addition, the project will continue the PPP partnership, the only large one in IFAD's portfolio, and will focus activities on oilseed development around four hubs (Lira, Eastern Uganda, Gulu and West Nile) covering 43 districts.



Dawa and Brahan, household mentees from Yumbe District © Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP)    

However, another great challenge which is putting pressure and delaying the start of the second phase is the land issue. In VODP 1, the government was able to easily negotiate with land settlers the use of land for the nucleus estate against compensation, because the land was seen as having no value, so the whole process was relatively fast. A few years later, in light of the success of the project in the Kalangala district, the situation has changed. Local people have understood that oil palm growing is economically viable, and therefore land tenants occupying public land, are asking for a much higher compensation to give up their land to the nucleus estate. As a result, the economics of repossessing the land are completely changing for the government, which is also under pressure from the private sector to act quickly. Bidco is investing another US$17 million to develop the new nucleus estate for which it needs the land. Equally, private landlords are only willing to sell land at a much higher price. This is currently blocking the situation as no agreeable solution has yet been found, and prevented the project to start implementation. "It also shows that the scaling-up of a project can have unforeseen side effects, which were not envisaged in the design of the new phase," commented Marini.

Project name: Vegetable Oil Development Project
IFAD loan contact: Alessandro Marini, Country Programme Manager,
Ann Turinayo, Knowledge Management Officer at IFAD,

Kenya: design with a scaling up mindset, the Upper Tana project

The new IFAD-supported Upper Tana Natural Resources Management Project (UTaNRMP) started earlier this year as a follow-up of a pilot project implemented in 2004, the Mount Kenya East Pilot Project (MKEPP). Not only will it extend the geographical base of the initial project, but it will scale-up what worked well in MKEPP as well as transform its management framework to better deal with the increased scope of the project.

"In the course of the implementation of the Mount Kenya Pilot Project, it appeared that it worked well for the region, and should be extended to the whole Upper Tana catchment," explained Eng. Peter Mangiti, Director and Head of Donor Coordination at the Kenyan Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

The Upper Tana catchment in South-Central Kenya, is the main source of water for hydroelectric power in Kenya, and provides over 90% of water to the capital city, Nairobi. The project area includes 24 river basins and their tributaries which drain into Tana River and cover six out of Kenya's 47 counties namely: Murang'a, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Embu, Tharaka-Nithi and Meru, as well as a number of identified environmental hotspots and protected forest areas that includes the Mt. Kenya and Aberdares national parks and surrounding forest reserves. The area is home to 5.2 million people with a population density of 300 per square kilometre. "Kenya is a water scarce country, and faces serious challenges with regard to protection and conservation of its water resources. The initiative to protect and conserve the Upper Tana catchment is therefore very important," said Eng. Koome, the Project's Water Resources Coordinator.

Since 2004, IFAD has been supporting the Mount Kenya East Pilot Project (MKEPP) which aims at linking sustainable use of natural resources, especially water and forests, with enhanced rural livelihoods in five selected river basins of the Upper Tana catchment. Following a mid-term review in 2009, it was recommended to up-scale the project to other basins.

The overall goal of the project is to contribute to reduction of rural poverty in the Upper Tana river catchment. This goal will be pursued via two development objectives which reflect the interlink between poverty and environment : increased sustainable food production and incomes for poor rural households living in the project area and sustainable management of natural resources for provision of environmental services. "To this end, the river basins have been ranked in order of priority based on five criteria:

Project interventions will be progressively scaled up beginning with further work on the tributaries of the five MKEPP river basins,  12 priority river basins and then to the other remaining 12 river basins. The project target is about 205,000 poor rural households – including smallholder crop and livestock farmers, agro-pastoralists, fishers and rural traders who are expected to benefit from the project.

The new project will focus on a well-balanced natural resources management (NRM) and environmental conservation programme with rural livelihood activities, community empowerment and commercial linkages. It is structured along the same lines as MKEPP. The project will be implemented through four components each having specific outcomes. The components are:

Building up on lessons learnt from the previous project

Drawing from MKEPP lessons, the scaled-up project is expected to empower rural communities for sustainable management of natural resources, to improve rural livelihoods reliant on natural resources, as well as improve the sustainable management of land, water and forest resources for the benefit of the local people and the wider community.

The project duration is eight years (2012-2020) and its total cost is estimated at around US$ 68.8 million, of which donors will contribute US$ 50 million (IFAD US$ 33 million and the Spanish Trust Fund $17 million).

The experiences of MKEPP, as well as the knowledge generated under the Pro-Poor Rewards for Environmental Services in Africa (PRESA), and Green water Credits (GWC), the additional activities implemented with the support of IFAD grants, have been particularly valuable in scaling up the project. PRESA has been exploring opportunities to develop systems of payments or rewards for provision of ecosystem services (PES/RES), whilst GWC has focused on identifying soil and water conservation (SWC) interventions suitable for adoption by smallholders in the Upper Tana catchment.

The scaling up of MKEPP through UTaNRMP is based largely on what worked well in MKEPP, with appropriate modifications based on lessons learned. The successes include: the extensive use of participatory approaches in project implementation, community engagement and institutional collaboration, hence enhanced community involvement and ownership of Project activities; technical and social capacity building of stakeholders to enhance sustainability, including the use of community resource persons to provide extension services; and input and financial support to community livelihood projects to encourage technology uptake.

Because of its scope, UTaNRMP involves more than four-fold up-scaling, from five to twenty-four river basins. This required a review of the management arrangements to successfully implement the scaled-up project. "The project cannot simply do four-times more of everything – it has to develop operational modalities which allow for major up-scaling without a proportional increase in management costs," said Nadine Gbossa, IFAD's Regional Director and Country Programme manager in Kenya. To that end, the former MKEPP Project Management Unit (PMU) was renamed the Project Coordination Team (PCT) to allow the shift of function away from direct management and implementation towards coordination of implementing partners and outsourcing service. The UTaNRMP project is a very good example of scaling-up not only geographically but also in terms of management structure and institutional arrangements," said Cheikh Sourang.

Project name: Mount Kenya East Pilot Project for Natural Resource Management
Upper Tana Catchment Natural Resources Management Project 
IFAD loan contact: Nadine Gbossa, Director of IFAD's Regional Office in Nairobi and Country Programme Manager,

Madagascar: Scaling up through innovation

What started as a pilot innovation in a limited area in Madagascar not only became a showcase of successful scaling up to other regions, but enabled a local industry to develop. "The drip irrigation technology is a good example of geographical and economical scaling up," said Caroline Bidault, Associate Country Programme Manager at the International Fund for Agricultural Development in Madagascar, "not only it was replicated in other areas, but local manufacturers started to produce the technology, adapting it to the local environment."



Irrigation of a field in the SCAMPIS project area © IFAD Madagascar projects    

The project on Scaling-Up Micro-Irrigation Systems (SCAMPIS) in Madagascar started in 2009 with the support of a grant from IFAD's Technical and Advisory Division (PTA). Its initial objective was to improve water availability and water management for 10,000 farmers through the implementation of micro-irrigation systems, and thus lead to better agricultural productivity in the target areas. It also aimed at introducing its methodology to the local government as well as small producers and private companies.

The objectives of SCAMPIS were to be achieved by a capacity building/awareness raising exercise and training, as well as by facilitating the development of a local private sector market of supply and demand including post-sales services for the drip kits and liquid organic fertilization kits.

As part of the Grant Agreement, the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Agronomes Vétérinaires Sans Frontières- was mandated by IFAD to put in place the SCAMPIS project to support the 10,000 poor smallholder farmers to better cope with water scarcity and depleting soil fertility.

In 2010 the AVSF team was set up, the technology was promoted, materials were purchased, farmers were trained, demonstration sites were established (97 sites were set up around 550 parcels of land in more than 60 rural communities), studies were conducted and experiences collected, and a strategy formulated to promote drip irrigation kits on a larger scale.



Using a pedal pump to bring water to the field © IFAD Madagascar projects    

SCAMPIS was initially put in place in two selected regions of two of IFAD's projects in Madagascar, namely in the regions of Anamalanga and Vakinankaratra in the High-Plateau under the Support Programme to Rural Micro-Enterprises and Regional Economies (Programme de Soutien aux Pôles de Micro-Entreprises Rurales et aux Economies Régionales de Madagascar- PROSPERER) and in the regions of Analanjirofo and Atsinanana on the Eastern Coast under the Rural Income Promotion Project (Programme de Promotion des Revenus Ruraux-PPRR). These regions were chosen because farmers were growing mainly vegetables, which was viewed as the best entry point to put in place micro-irrigation kits. A year later, in view of its initial success, the project was extended to another region of the High-Plateau, where the irrigation kits were also introduced.

Successful value-chain strategy

From the start, SCAMPIS' strategy focused on developing a local value chain for the production of micro-irrigation kits adapted to the local context, targeting in particular small scale vulnerable vegetable growers. The sector was chosen because of the high number and fragmentation of small producers, the low level of mechanization and the lack of sound water resource management, as well as the price volatility of products. The selection criteria for the farmers were the following: a cultivation area of less than half an acre, a period of more than four months in between crops, no livestock, no income support (single mothers) and unstable work.

While supporting vulnerable farmers with the introduction of the micro-irrigation kits, the SCAMPIS project aimed in parallel at developing a local business for the production and distribution of these kits to better adapt them to local needs.

The project linked with a number of IFAD-supported projects in Madagascar to upscale and replicate its successes, especially in the southern region of the country, where there are regular water shortages. The IFAD projects started to adapt the kits in areas outside of the SCAMPIS contract zone, thus doubling the number of beneficiaries. In the SCAMPIS zone alone, by mid-2012, a total of 4,694 families benefitted from the technology, but that number rose to 9,312 families when the other project zones were taken into account, according to SCAMPIS 2012 Final Report.

"The results clearly show that the project was much more efficient than initially anticipated," explained Caroline Bidault, "not only it was successful in introducing a new technology, but it also paved the way for disseminating it and for kicking off local production of the required material. The project increased in size and scope and also started to diverge into other sectors such as manufacturing".



Example of the pedal pump technology © IFAD Madagascar projects    

Initially the kits, made of a pedal pump and tubes and valves, had to be imported, but soon after the start, a local industry developed around the technology and adapted it to the local environment (changes in the PVC tubes for instance, locally made pumps). The local kits worked better for the farmers and started to sell well, however, there are still challenges to overcome: the demand needs to increase to gain more autonomy, access to the technology should be easier for the most vulnerable families and the critical mass of users has to grow. Until this is achieved, there will still be a need for a multi-actors financial and political support, as the kits remain highly subsidized by the project. "There are also some challenges to overcome in terms of technical support and in the distribution network," said Caroline Bidault, "we need more demonstration of the kit, we need to make progress for repair, maintenance and replacement of spare parts. Often we find that the kits stay with the reseller at the back of the shop, there's not enough turnover, and maybe the products are not marketed enough to the users. We need more qualified staff to be able to perform these functions to improve the distribution network." Although promotion of the kit is organized on a regular basis through exhibitions at market places and trade fairs, radio marketing and advertising in the media, it hasn't yet reached its full potential in terms of usage.

A leap forward in micro-irrigation systems to alleviate poverty

On the whole, the SCAMPIS project generated a leap forward in micro-irrigation systems in Madagascar, to the extent that more and more users got interested, a local industry and distribution network started to develop and the project was extended to outside partners. For instance, some local associations and NGOs started to acquire the kits without financial support from SCAMPIS. The beneficiaries were able to increase their revenues, partly because of the time gain generated by mechanization.

Furthermore, in terms of technology, the SCAMPIS project has responded to two critical but distinct needs: those of poor farmers (women in particular) to create a new means of income and livelihood; and those of farmers in water-scarce areas to cope with the scarcity. The best examples are to be found in the South (AROPA intervention area) where micro-irrigation groups (mostly poor women vegetable growers) created by the project have experienced major improvements in their cash income and household food and nutrition security.

Once again, there are a number of challenges. The initiative needs to ensure dissemination and impact in the shortest time possible; cost feasibility; lasting revenue generation for all parties involved (manufacturers, distributors and final users); and dissemination to other areas in the country.


The drip irrigation concept

Drip irrigation is an irrigation method that saves water and fertilizer by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone, through a network of valves, pipes and emitters. It is done with the help of narrow tubes that deliver water directly to the base of the plant. Drip irrigation technology is one alternative that improves the distribution of water (with the help of irrigation ramps) and also reduces the amount of water that is brought to each plant. The efficiency and cost-effectiveness of drip irrigation are notably superior to gravity irrigation.

In order to keep the cost as low as possible, different drip kits were devised for land areas of 50m2, 100m2  and 200m2. Water pressure is regulated from an elevated reservoir that is fed by a pedal pump. One reservoir can feed several drip kits. In theory, a farmer can gradually extend the irrigated surface by purchasing additional kits, which can be used individually or collectively. The more kits that can be fed by one water source, the more cost-effective the system is.

In 2011, a total of 2,639 kits were provided with 1,158 pedal pumps: 2008 for AROPA; 600 for PPRR; 21 for PROSPERER; and 10 for AD2M. They represented about 43 hectares benefiting nearly 5,000 vegetable growers.


Project name: Scaling-Up Micro-Irrigation Systems
IFAD loan contact: Caroline Bidault, Associate Country Programme Manager at IFAD
Haingo Rakotondratsima, Country Programme Officer at IFAD