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Do policy and institutional factors explain the low levels of smallholder groundwater use in Sub-Saharan Africa?


  • Srinivas Chokkakula
  • Mark Giordano


This article examines the policy and institutional constraints on smallholder adoption of groundwater irrigation practices in Sub-Saharan Africa. The analysis departs from the unilateral focus on the promotion of technologies and probes not only the issues of groundwater governance but also those policies related to other enabling factors such as access to credit, energy and agricultural pricing policies and land-tenure security. The paper argues that the region may be missing an opportunity by not ensuring at least neutral policy towards agricultural groundwater development and addressing other constraints which hold back not only agricultural groundwater use but smallholder agriculture development in general.

Suggested Citation

  • Srinivas Chokkakula & Mark Giordano, 2013. "Do policy and institutional factors explain the low levels of smallholder groundwater use in Sub-Saharan Africa?," Water International, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(6), pages 790-808, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rwinxx:v:38:y:2013:i:6:p:790-808
    DOI: 10.1080/02508060.2013.843842

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Adeoti, Adeoti & Barry, Boubacar & Namara, Regassa & Kamara, Abdul & Titiati, Atsu, 2007. "Treadle pump irrigation and poverty in Ghana," IWMI Research Reports H040628, International Water Management Institute.
    2. Takeshima, Hiroyuki & Adeoti, Adetola I. & Salau, Sheu, 2011. "Measuring the effect of transaction costs for investment in irrigation pumps: Application of the unobserved stochastic threshold model to the case of Nigeria," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 6(2), pages 1-26, September.
    3. Spielman, David J. & Mekonnen, Dawit Kelemework & Alemu, Dawit, 2012. "Seed, fertilizer, and agricultural extension in Ethiopia," IFPRI book chapters, in: Dorosh, Paul A. & Rashid, Shahidur (ed.), Food and agriculture in Ethiopia: Progress and policy challenges, chapter 4, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Pavelic, Paul & Giordano, Mark & Keraita, Bernard & Ramesh, Vidya & Rao, T., 2012. "Groundwater availability and use in Sub-Saharan Africa: a review of 15 countries," IWMI Books, Reports H046186, International Water Management Institute.
    5. Namara, Regassa E. & Horowitz, Leah & Nyamadi, Ben & Barry, Boubacar, 2011. "Irrigation development in Ghana: Past experiences, emerging opportunities, and future directions," GSSP working papers 27, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Diao, Xinshen & Cossar, Frances & Houssou, Nazaire & Kolavalli, Shashidhara & Jimah, Kipo & Aboagye, Patrick, 2012. "Mechanization in Ghana: Searching for sustainable service supply models:," IFPRI discussion papers 1237, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Namara, Regassa E., 2011. "Irrigation development in Ghana: past experiences, emerging opportunities, and future directions," IWMI Working Papers H043830, International Water Management Institute.
    8. , United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, 2009. "African Governance Report 2009," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199574292.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lydia Kwoyiga & Catalin Stefan, 2019. "Institutional Feasibility of Managed Aquifer Recharge in Northeast Ghana," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(2), pages 1-16, January.
    2. Cobbing, Jude & Hiller, Bradley, 2019. "Waking a sleeping giant: Realizing the potential of groundwater in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 597-613.

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