Irrigated agriculture and resilience of family farms – a clash of perspectives
To meet the growing national demand for rice, governments in West Africa are promoting a model of agricultural investment which is oriented towards specialisation and intensification in rice farming, with the aim of increasing both production and productivity. For family farms, by contrast, rice production has to be part of a wider strategy to strengthen subsistence livelihoods and manage risk, by diversifying their sources of capital. Mechanisms for dialogue and negotiation are needed to bridge the gap between these different sets of priorities, and to enable better understanding of the specific needs for support of the different types of farm. New governance rules, based on inclusion and participation of producers, can make a contribution to improving the performance of irrigated rice systems.
This policy briefing is also available in French.
To find out more about this topic, see our work on Empowering smallholders.