Exploring ways to increase public investments in agricultural water management and irrigation for improved agricultural productivity in Southern Africa
This paper explores ways to increase public investments in agricultural water management and irrigation for improved agricultural productivity in Southern Africa, with a specific focus on Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. The analysis was based on a critical review of literature and assessment of the national agricultural investment plans and agricultural/water policies in the study countries. Despite the potential to improve agricultural productivity, irrigation does not currently play a significant role in Southern African agriculture. There have been efforts and formal commitments at the continental, regional and country levels to promote investments in agricultural water management and irrigation to improve and sustain agricultural productivity. However, despite these commitments, actual implementation has been a challenge and the first 5 years of national agricultural investment plans have passed or are now coming to an end without much progress having been made regarding actual investments. Lack of adequate resources and institutional capacity have been some of the challenges affecting implementation of the investment plans to meet commitments in sustainable land and water management. Overall, as countries plan for the second phase of the CAADP programme, there are opportunities to ensure that investments in agricultural water management and irrigation and complementary technologies are prioritised and allocated adequate resources for implementation.
Keywords: Agricultural water, irrigation, investment, productivity, Southern Africa