Irrigation and land tenure

Why irrigation and land tenure?

Investments in irrigation lead to a de facto increase in land value. This can trigger a race for agricultural land to the detriment of small family farmers who depend on this land for their livelihoods and other economic activities. Investments in the rehabilitation or construction of new irrigation infrastructures are also often accompanied by the displacement of populations that must be fairly compensated, both for their losses during the construction phase but also in a sustainable manner once the infrastructures are operational. The various parties involved in irrigation have designed and implemented various rules for compensation, and for the allocation and management of irrigated land, that need to be studied and evaluated from the standpoint of social, economic and environmental sustainability.

What do we do?

We examine the different irrigation development models by looking at them from four dimensions:

  • The legal dimension: respect and protection of rights in their diversity, possible revision of land tenure systems, tools to be promoted to secure land rights;
  • The governance dimension: the process for allocating plots of land, the systems of the actors present and their roles, mechanisms for drawing up and monitoring compliance with the rules governing irrigation schemes;
  • The economic dimension: size of plots and their integration in production systems, viability of the farms set up, support measures planned to promote their economic performance;
  • The political dimension: choice of types of agriculture to be encouraged by projects and justification thereof, frameworks for reflection and action by national decision-makers and donors.

Our study zones are South-East Asia (Cambodia and Myanmar) and the Maghreb (Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria)