What is farmer-led Irrigation? What is it all about?

June 26, 2019


One of the major challenges small-scale farmers face is lack of water. With the current unpredictable rainfall and an increase in natural disasters, this problem is only getting exacerbated. This is where farmer-led irrigation comes in. Ideally, it is a cost-effective agricultural water management solution. It is a revolution in progress that has the capability to feed the growing population, reduce global poverty and improve nutrition.

Scaling up farmer-led irrigation has numerous benefits;

  • Increase in employment opportunities for the youth
  • Strengthening water and climate systems
  • Sustainable economic growth
  • Stabilizing political and social systems
  • Improving groundwater management
  • Increase in food productivity and diversity


Although farmer-led irrigation has the above benefits, it may be limited in application due to factors such as;

  • Lack of access to irrigation technologies

    Accessing motorized pumps can be expensive for the common farmer and lack of capital could be a hindrance. Talking of capital as a hindrance, lack of financial mechanisms like access to affordable loans could stifle the growth of farmer-led irrigation.

  • Poor technology supply chains

    Most irrigation equipment suppliers do not target small-scale farmers. Factions of the community are also excluded from access to technological training and information. This reduces their ability to invest in irrigation technologies.

    It is necessary to help farmers adopt new and innovative technologies throughout the state of Oklahoma. Some of the measures that could be put in place to make this happen include;

  • understanding the scope of existing agricultural knowledge - after understanding the skills and experience farmers already have, it becomes possible to effect new technologies such as the farmer-led irrigation model.
  • Spreading accurate agricultural information and knowledge across the state-scaling farmer-led irrigation requires a boost in outreach. The more farmers get to hear about it, the faster it will become.
  • Building international networks
  • Developing financial solutions (capital, land and labor), particularly in the private sector
  • Improving supply chains: To benefit both providers and buyers, manufacturers can provide farmers with access to new irrigation technologies and delay the repayments until farmers secure their harvests. The buyer on the other hand will be able to improve quality and steady supply.

Although farmer-led irrigation is increasing in volumes, it is yet to make a dent in (reported) official statistics. Rob Bertram, a United States Agency for International Development official states that his ‘vision for farmer-led irrigation is for a farmer to irrigate his small field, grow vegetables, raise livestock, and provide a future for his family’.

Extreme irrigation and Lawn has for a long time been working with Tulsa homeowners, helping with Tulsa irrigation systems installation, maintenance and repair. Call or send us an email, and get your irrigation project running in full steam.



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