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Integrated assessment of the impact of a small reservoir on land use and livelihood in Burkina Faso

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Katrin Zitzmann, Quang Bao, Claudia Arntz
Katrin Zitzmann (Geographer): Phd student at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn Claudia Arntz (Geographer): Senior Researcher Glowa Volta Project at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn

Keyword(s): Small reservoir, Livelihood, Land use change, Participatory irrigation managment, Burkina Faso
Article:
AbstractAccess to natural resources, particularly land and water, by the rural poor is critical for poverty reduction. In Burkina Faso, construction of dams is one established approach to secure and to improve farmers’ livelihoods by increasing and diversifying food production. This paper examines the outcomes of the establishment of a small reservoir in Dano, south-western Burkina Faso, in 2002, by the Dreyer Foundation, a private German development foundation. When the project was initiated, the paramount objectives were to ensure permanent access to irrigation water, and subsequently to increase agricultural production, particularly rice production. Knowledge concerning appropriate levels of support needed to meet these targets, and simultaneously to ensure sustainable land use in the perimeter of the reservoir were incomplete, however. Following the establishment of the reservoir, the Dreyer Foundation therefore has sought to identify optimal approaches to financial and technical assistance in order to improve irrigation management and extension services. Permanent access to water, small subsidized loans-in-kind of seeds and fertilizers as well as provision of extension service all have had impacts on land use management, and consequently on farmers’ livelihoods. In addition, the Dreyer Foundation has guaranteed the purchase of rice cultivated within the irrigation area. However, new challenges regarding land use practices and participatory irrigation management have emerged, and require appropriate solutions. This paper examines the ways in which farmers’ land use and management have changed, and the impacts these changes have had on farmers’ livelihoods, using the livelihood framework as analytical concept. Findings are based on intensive household and plot-based surveys as well as group discussions with farmers conducted in 2006 and 2007. Additional, semi-structured interviews with experts and key informants were also conducted. The paper further discusses opportunities and limits of participatory irrigation management, and a private development initiative. The paper provides recommendations on the design of assistance strategies to enhance the benefits that small reservoirs and participatory irrigation management can provide. These include diversification of crops and intensification of agricultural production for further improvement of farmers’ livelihood as well as enhanced participation and interaction between farmers and the Dreyer Foundation.
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