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Performing the success of an innovation: the case of smallholder drip irrigation in Burkina Faso


  • Jonas Wanvoeke
  • Jean-Philippe Venot
  • Margreet Zwarteveen
  • Charlotte de Fraiture


Over the last 15 years, smallholder drip irrigation has gained almost unanimous popularity as an effective tool to achieve the combined goals of sustainable water use, food security and poverty alleviation in the developing world. Based on a study in Sub-Saharan Africa, this article shows that this popularity does not stem from what the technology does in farmers' fields, but is the result of the concerted efforts of a number of key spokespersons to align it with the projects and interests of a variety of actors, including development agents, researchers, NGO staff and pilot farmers.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonas Wanvoeke & Jean-Philippe Venot & Margreet Zwarteveen & Charlotte de Fraiture, 2015. "Performing the success of an innovation: the case of smallholder drip irrigation in Burkina Faso," Water International, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(3), pages 432-445, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:rwinxx:v:40:y:2015:i:3:p:432-445
    DOI: 10.1080/02508060.2015.1010364

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dittoh, Saa & Akuriba, Margaret A. & Issaka, Balma Y. & Bhattarai, Madhusudan, 2010. "Sustainable Micro-Irrigation Systems for Poverty Alleviation in The Sahel: A Case for “Micro” Public-Private Partnerships?," 2010 AAAE Third Conference/AEASA 48th Conference, September 19-23, 2010, Cape Town, South Africa 97045, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    2. Rosegrant, Mark W., 1997. "Water resources in the twenty-first century: challenges and implications for action," 2020 vision discussion papers 20, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    Cited by:

    1. Naouri, Mohamed & Kuper, Marcel & Hartani, Tarik, 2020. "The power of translation: Innovation dialogues in the context of farmer-led innovation in the Algerian Sahara," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 180(C).
    2. Araujo, Danielle F. & Costa, Raimundo N. & Mateos, Luciano, 2019. "Pros and cons of furrow irrigation on smallholdings in northeast Brazil," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 221(C), pages 25-33.
    3. Wells, Geoff & Fisher, Janet A. & Porras, Ina & Staddon, Sam & Ryan, Casey, 2017. "Rethinking Monitoring in Smallholder Carbon Payments for Ecosystem Service Schemes: Devolve Monitoring, Understand Accuracy and Identify Co-benefits," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 139(C), pages 115-127.
    4. Houessionon, Prosper & Balana, Bedru & Zahodogo, Pam & Thiombiano, Noël & Bossa, Aymar, 2016. "Sustainable water management and resource recovery and reuse contracts in agricultural in Burkina-Faso for Ecosystem Services sustainability: Using choice experiments to estimate the farmers’ welfare," 2016 Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 249343, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    5. Venot, Jean-Philippe, 2016. "A Success of Some Sort: Social Enterprises and Drip Irrigation in the Developing World," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 69-81.
    6. Mateos, Luciano & dos Santos Almeida, Alexsandro Claudio & Frizzone, José Antônio & Lima, Sílvio Carlos Ribeiro Vieira, 2018. "Performance assessment of smallholder irrigation based on an energy-water-yield nexus approach," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 206(C), pages 176-186.
    7. Prosper Houessionon & William M. Fonta & Aymar Y. Bossa & Safiétou Sanfo & Noel Thiombiano & Pam Zahonogo & Thomas B. Yameogo & Bedru Balana, 2017. "Economic Valuation of Ecosystem Services from Small-Scale Agricultural Management Interventions in Burkina Faso: A Discrete Choice Experiment Approach," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 9(9), pages 1-16, September.
    8. Benavides, Juan & Hernández-Plaza, Eva & Mateos, Luciano & Fereres, Elías, 2021. "A global analysis of irrigation scheme water supplies in relation to requirements," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 243(C).
    9. Sonja, Vermeulen & Meryl, Richards & Alessandro, De Pinto & Dino, Ferrarese & Peter, Läderach & Le, Lan & Marty, Luckert & Enrico, Mazzoli & Laura, Plant & Roberto, Rinaldi & Jim, Stephenson & Paul, W, 2016. "The Economic Advantage: Assessing the value of climate-change actions in agriculture," IFAD Advantage Series 304740, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
    10. Hornum, Sebastian Toft & Bolwig, Simon, 2021. "A functional analysis of the role of input suppliers in an agricultural innovation system: The case of small-scale irrigation in Kenya," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 193(C).
    11. Houessionon, P. & Fonta, W. M. & Bossa, A. Y. & Sanfo, S. & Thiombiano, N. & Zahonogo, P. & Yameogo, T. B. & Balana, Bedru, "undated". "Economic valuation of ecosystem services from small-scale agricultural management interventions in Burkina Faso: a discrete choice experiment approach," Papers published in Journals (Open Access) H048370, International Water Management Institute.

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