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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Definition and Development in African Indigenous Irrigation
Author:Adams, W.M.ISNI
Year:1989
Periodical:Azania: Archaeological Research in Africa (ISSN 1945-5534)
Volume:24
Pages:21-27
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
Africa
Subjects:irrigation
Agriculture, Agronomy, Forestry
agricultural production
agricultural productivity
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00672708909511394
Abstract:Contemporary irrigation projects tend to be large, costly, centrally managed and externally imposed. Despite continued enthusiasm for such schemes in some quarters, opinion seems to be increasingly agreed that such schemes have a poor record in financial and socioeconomic terms. Partly for this reason, interest on the part of aid donors in small-scale approaches to irrigation and in existing 'indigenous' irrigation has grown. Simple indigenous irrigation practices occur in a number of places in sub-Saharan Africa. After discussing a broader definition of irrigation ('any control of water by man which supplements rainfall for crop production'), the author describes a number of these practices. These include: flood-recession cropping; residual soil moisture cropping; rising flood cropping; tidal irrigation; rainwater harvesting; hill furrow irrigation; human-powered pumping of groundwater; animal-powered pumping of groundwater; motorized pumping of groundwater. This review refutes the assertion of some development 'experts' that irrigation is a concept foreign to all Africans. In conclusion, the author examines the question of irrigation as a form of intensification and stresses the need for extensive research. Ref.

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