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Poverty Dimensions of Irrigation Management Transfer in Large-Scale Canal Irrigation in Andra Pradesh and Gujarat, India

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Van Koppen, Barbara; Parthasarathy, R.; Safiliou, Constantina
Date: 2002
Agency: International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, Sri Lanka
Series: IWMI Research Report no. 61
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3986
Sector: Agriculture
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Middle East & South Asia
Subject(s): irrigation
resource management
participatory management
Abstract: "The need for a pro-poor mode of irrigation management transfer (IMT) has arisen due to the observed tendency of IMT to aggravate rural poverty. This research, centered on large scale canal irrigation schemes in India, seeks to: a) examine ways to measure relative income poverty within large-scale irrigation schemes, b) examine the validity of the common assumption that both poor and non-poor farmers of the same irrigation scheme have equal access to canal water, and c) assess the differential impacts of IMT programs on poor and non-poor farmers in Andra Pradesh and Gujarat, India. Two different IMT programs-the state-wide program under the Andra Pradesh Farmers Management of Irrigation Systems Act of 1999 (APFMIS) and the pilot program under the Participatory Irrigation Management Resolution in Gujarat of 1995 (PIM)-were selected for this study. Seven hundred land owning and tenant farmers from 7 water users associations (WUAs) constituted the sample of 'small farmers' and 'larger farmers' with operational holdings of less than one hectare and one hectare or more, respectively. "Relative farm size was found to be a valid indicator of relative income, as many features characteristic of the farm size exert a determining influence on income. Moreover, the ready availability of data on farm size makes it a practical indicator. In Andra Pradesh a higher proportion of small farmers depend on canal water but the concentration of their plots, mainly in the tail ends, poses a disadvantage regarding canal water accessibility. In contrast, no differences in water accessibility exist between small farmers and larger farmers in Gujarat. Therefore, IMT that improves access to canal water is pro-poor per se in Andra Pradesh and equally beneficial to both small and larger farmers in Gujarat. "Farmer participation in WUA activities is rather low in both states and most small farmers are unaware of WUAs. While small farmers often participate in repair and rehabilitation work, the larger farmers involve themselves in meetings, committees, etc. Such inequity in participation undermines the equitable distribution of benefits from IMT and also the viability of WUAs that depend heavily on the labor contribution of small farmers. It is recommended that a one-farm one-vote right, irrespective of farm size, stipulated by APFMIS, be concretized through awareness raising. "The impacts observed are from 5 years of program implementation in Gujarat and 2 years in Andra Pradesh. The findings of this research underscore the necessity for monitoring farm-size related differences as a prerequisite for ensuring pro-poor IMT."

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