Proceedings of national seminar on small scale irrigation: experiences, challenges, opportunities and pathways

Proceedings of national seminar on small scale irrigation: experiences, challenges, opportunities and pathways

Nepali farmers and a variety of governmental and non-governmental development agencies have substantial experience in developing small-scale irrigation systems (SSISs). Their insights, however, have not been communicated to key policymakers and other actors in a manner that can support formulations of strategies to enhance the role such SSISs play in ensuring local food security and in boosting resilience.

In view of the above, the Department of Local Infrastructure Development and Agricultural roads (DoLIDAR), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation Nepal in partnership with the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-Nepal (ISET-Nepal), Nepal Engineering College (nec), International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the National Federation of Irrigation Water Users Association Nepal (NFIWUAN) organized a two-day National level seminar—Small Scale Irrigation: Experiences, Challenges, Opportunities and Pathways—on December 5-6 2012 at Mirabel Resort, Dhulikhel.

This paper is a summary of the proceedings of the seminar. It successfully brought together national and international experts, academics, government officials, small-farm irrigators, researchers, donor representatives, members of the private sector, the media, non- government organizations, and civil society under one roof to analyze and discuss existing and emerging issues concerning SSISs and their role in building resilient livelihoods.

The participants identified 17 issues bothering on policy, institutional, technology, physical systems, and knowledge, education and participation and synergy related statements critical to the development of SSISs. They recognized the need for agriculture in Nepal to undergo significant transformation to meet contemporary challenges of achieving food security, economic development, poverty alleviation and climate change. The threat of climate change is important to recognize because most estimates indicate that it is likely to lower agricultural productivity, affect production stability, and reduce income of socially and political marginalised farming families. The paper recommends that issues identified by the seminar need to be systematically addressed so that SSISs become physically, socially and institutionally more resilient to absorb different kinds of shocks and contribute to overall well-being.

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