Policy options for irrigated food production in Southern Africa
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Southern African states irrigate about two per cent of their cropped area and they believe further irrigation development will enhance the food security of the region. This article reviews the levels of irrigation development in Botswana, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The policy debate issues includean assessment of the potential for further irrigation development, large- and small-scale systems, complementarity and competition between irrigated and rain-fed agriculture, the weak farmer and government institutions, as well as official recognition of the importance of micro-scale irrigation. All SADC states have a limited number of people trained and experienced in the various fields of irrigation. It was found that there is little on-going research, though the need for it is growing, on the economics of irrigated food production to national and household levels, the possibilities of intensifying and diversifying agriculture into high-value crops and the effectiveness of irrigation as a catalyst for non-farm jobs in rural areas.