At a regional workshop held in Bamako on 7 and 8 September 2017, some 50 participants shared recent experiences and achievements in "land tenure security" to enhance learning and implementation by West African stakeholders of results at the policy and practical levels. The meeting was organized by GWI, the Réseau des organisations paysannes et des producteurs agricoles de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (ROPPA) and the Comité permanent inter-États de lutte contre la sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS).
The Global Water Initiative (GWI), in partnership with Bagrépôle and the Union des groupements de producteurs de riz de Bagré (UGPRB), carried out a diagnostic study on the livelihoods of smallholders in 2013. This study found that the service and quality of agricultural advice around the Bagré dam, in Burkina Faso, was neither effective nor adapted to the needs of farmers.
In recent years, the governments of the Sahel have committed to combat poverty and food insecurity through a significant increase in the development of irrigable areas. For GWI West Africa, this has presented a timely opportunity to analyse, alongside the relevant ECOWAS guidelines, the socio-economic results achieved on irrigated schemes associated with large dams in the West Africa region.
In Niger, in a context threatening the sustainability of irrigation schemes, securing land tenure helps sustain the investments of the State and the future of farmers. A practical guide, the Guide to securing land tenure in irrigation schemes in Niger, is now available to accompany and facilitate this operation at the national level. This fact sheet details the context and the issues that led to the development of this guide and presents its characteristics and structure.
According to the census conducted by the Directorate of Development and Economic Analysis of the National Office for Irrigation Schemes (ONAHA), there are 85 irrigation schemes in Niger today, covering approximately 16,000 hectares and employing more than 40,000 farmers. Under the "Kandadji" programme for ecosystem regeneration and development in the Niger Valley, an additional 45,000 hectares are expected to be developed by 2030.
In 2013, GWI initiated a participatory process on agricultural advisory services around the Sélingué dam in Mali, to change the relations between the Sélingué Rural Development Office (ODRS) and farmer organisations (FOs). An action plan was drawn up to define strategic priorities, concrete actions and detailed budgets to improve advisory services and agricultural productivity.
In Niger, the National Office for Irrigation Schemes (ONAHA) sought GWI's support to examine how to improve smallholders’ performance in irrigated schemes. In order to improve agricultural advisory services, this study was conducted through a diagnosis of six schemes (Konni 1, Konni 2, Namardé Goungou, Famalé, Gabou and Kandadji) in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses in the implementation of agricultural advice and water management depending on the age (old, new) and the types of production (rice cultivation, polyculture) of the schemes.
Farmer organisations and government agencies managing large scale irrigation systems in West Africa need to collaborate to agree on a vision for agricultural services that increases scheme viability while meeting the needs of different types of farmers. However, there is no institutional mechanism in place that enables different groups of actors – with different levels of power – to engage at a strategic level or to negotiate and take forward such a common position.
This factsheet outlines how local smallholders and agricultural advisory service (AAS) providers in the irrigation scheme around the Selingué dam in Mali came together to develop a detailed action plan to improve the availability and quality of AAS.