Do policy and institutional factors explain the low levels of smallholder groundwater use in Sub-Saharan Africa?

By Srinivas Chokkakula and Mark Giordano
Water International, 30 January 2013

This article examines the policy and institutional constraints on smallholder adoption of groundwater irrigation practices in Sub-Saharan Africa. The analysis departs from the unilateral focus on the promotion of technologies and probes not only the issues of groundwater governance but also those policies related to other enabling factors such as access to credit, energy and agricultural pricing policies and land-tenure security. The paper argues that the region may be missing an opportunity by not ensuring at least neutral policy towards agricultural groundwater development and addressing other constraints which hold back not only agricultural groundwater use but smallholder agriculture development in general.