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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:How Beautiful is Small?: Scale, control and success in Kenyan irrigation
Author:Adams, W.M.
Periodical:World Development
Geographic term:Kenya
Abstract:This paper examines the question of scale as a factor in the success of irrigation projects. Experience with government-managed irrigation development in Kenya is discussed, focusing in particular on the Bura Irrigation Settlement Project and on small-scale irrigation in Turkana. It is argued that the performance of both large and small schemes has been poor. and it is suggested that the scale of scheme operation is of less importance in determining the success of development than is the extent to which government irrigation is bureaucratically controlled. Most schemes have been neither initiated nor controlled by farmers. It is bureaucratic management, rather than scale itself, which seems to be the key cause of poor performance in Kenyan irrigation. Therefore, small is by no means always beautiful in the context of irrigation and enthusiasm for small-scale irrigation as a target of development funding needs to be tempered with caution. The most important feature of small-scale irrigation is its informal nature. The implications of the poor performance of bureaucratically controlled irrigation are discussed in the context of widespread and growing interest in small-scale approaches to African irrigation. (Source: Author Abstract).