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    Efforts to boost irrigation across the continent have been hugely increased over the past decade. However, new research shows that more often than not, official statistics do not take into consideration irrigation initiatives set up by small-scale farmers. This is according to a recent article on farmer-led irrigation in Africa, published in the Journal of Peasant Studies.

    Take Mozambique, for example. Research conducted in the central part of the country identified around 115 000 ha of farmer-led irrigation that had gone undocumented. This effectively doubles the country’s officially recognised area of irrigation.

    The research also found that Tanzania’s area of suitable irrigated farm land is larger than previously thought – up to 20% bigger for rice-growing areas. And, between 2003 and 2010, Ghanaian farmers invested up to US$8 million in motorised pumps to irrigate 180 000 ha of farming land – a development that is effectively 10 times bigger than the country’s public irrigation systems.

    22 March 2017
    Image: Gallo/Getty Images