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CAN FARMERS IN EGYPT SHOULDER THE BURDEN OF IRRIGATION MANAGEMENT?

IWRA World Water Congress 2003 Madrid Spain
IWRA WWC2003 - default topic
Author(s): Mahmoud M. MOUSTAFA

Mahmoud M. MOUSTAFA  Researcher, National Water Research Center, Fum Ismailiya Canal, P.O. Box 74, Shoubra El-Kheima  13411, Egypt, E-mail: m_moustafa@nwrc-eg.org


Article:

Abstract

Problems facing water deficit, a way of increasing water demands over supplies, have been raised rapidly amongst the priorities being addressed by the Government of Egypt. The government is mandated to plan, construct, operate, manage, and maintain the water system. However, with the growing water demands and the limited water resources available for the country, water management became a very difficult task because of many challenges facing the water sector in the country. Therefore, Egypt, as many other countries, attempts this critical issue be emerging policies on water. This has led Egypt to reform policies, technologies, institutions, and development strategies to manage water more effectively. One of these strategies is the irrigation management transfer (IMT) that has been a major strategy adopted to encourage farmers to play a more important role in irrigation management and related water services and also share the cost of O&M of irrigation and drainage systems. IMT policy is launched in Egypt as a pilot phase to expand water users’ participation at secondary levels of the irrigation and drainage systems. Four pilot areas (5,000–8,000 acre) representing all categories and geographical locations of agricultural lands of Egypt were selected to implement this policy.  

This study was conducted in these pilot areas prior to the start of any IMT activities to describe, analyze, and explain farmers’ attitudes toward irrigation maintenance and implementation of IMT process. Socio-economic questionnaires were designed and used as the main tool for data collection. After the field pre-test of the survey instrument, a sample of 240 farmers, 60 from each pilot area, was selected using the sampling frame of multi-tiered process, and the statistical data analysis was done using SpssWin software.
The major result of this study is that, without proper education and interface with farmers, there is widespread resistance to the idea farmers assuming management and maintenance responsibilities beyond the on-farm level. It would have to proceed very cautiously, and yield responsive results if it were to survive in the face of the attitudes the farmers have shown, with their strong belief in the necessity of the role of the government. Meanwhile, farmers expressed great confidence in the IMT process and its objectives.

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