Farmers' Organized Behavior in Irrigated Agriculture in Pakistan's Punjab: A Case Study of Six Watercourse Command Areas in Junejwala Minor, Lower Chenab Canal System

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"Increased participation of farmers in the management of Pakistan's canal irrigation system is advocated by the federal government and donors to help address the low levels of performance of irrigated agriculture in Pakistan. However, past efforts in establishing water users associations have shown that establishing sustainable, robust farmers, water management organizations is not an easy task. The aim of this paper is to assess the existing organization of irrigation activities in six tertiary units in Pakistan's Punjab and to evaluate the effect of the social setup of the villages to which these units belong on the present organization of the irrigation activities. In doing so, a number of hypotheses that have been advanced in the literature on favourable conditions for successful farmer organizations are tested. This case study can also contribute to the ongoing discussion of increased responsibilities for stakeholders, by exposing existing strengths and constraints in the present irrigation setup. The irrigation system in Pakistan has been laid out to minimize farmers, involvement at main and secondary levels to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of water without being affected by traditional structures in the society. Hydrological boundaries do not coincide with social or administrative boundaries. However, the study shows that the social characteristics or social capital of a village impact on how effectively irrigation activities are organized by farmers. The study also exposes the fact that existing irrigation institutions (e.g. warabandi) have clear rules and boundaries that limit interactions and possible conflicts between farmers. Moreover, the number of institutions that are functional is kept very small, as organizations are dissolved when targets have been achieved."
organizational behavior, irrigation, agriculture, performance, institutional analysis