Interactive irrigation design in Mozambique

Interactive irrigation design approaches for smallholders, field testing in Mozambique

Research Challenges

Designing irrigation systems for smallholders continues to be problematic in delivering the expected results. We hypothesise that farmers' design principles applied in the informal sector lead to 'better' and sustainable designs (farmer-led irrigation), but:

  • What is the added value of participatory design of irrigation systems?
  • What are the differences between a 'formal' design by trained irrigation engineers and 'informal' design by farmer groups themselves?


Social-technical research on farmer-led irrigation in two setting, small scale farmer build systems and large scale irrigation development efforts for farmer managed systems.

Reflexive research on the field testing of participatory design methodologies as the lead design and construction engineer through affiliated projects.

Expected/Main results and conclusions

  • Demonstrating why most formal irrigation development efforts have failed while simultaneously farmer-led irrigation development has boomed.
  • Design and reflexion on field tested methodologies to emulate the success of farmer-led irrigation development.