Several factors influence the ability of a farmer to make use of an agricultural water management (AWM) option.
In many cases it is not possible to simply provide a source of irrigation water or to put a technology on the market.
The barriers to successful solutions are most notably a result of problems with accessing markets. Policies too can either help or hinder access to irrigation water. Only when these barriers are overcome can we say that we have an AWM solution.
Some of these solutions are:
• Taxation policies that do not restrict the importation of motor pumps and irrigation equipment.
• Schemes that fairly contract smallholder farmers to supply large businesses – known as Outgrower Schemes.
• Policies that support rural electrification and allow farmers to use electric pumps, which are much cheaper to run than diesel pumps.
• Poverty alleviation programs that target water resources development.
Across India and Africa, there are already programs and policies in place which aim to help the poor. It makes sense to tap into these to benefit more farmers and help focus resources on agricultural water management opportunities.
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There is little point in a farmer increasing their productivity if there is no market for their produce. Equally, many poor farmers have limited access to information about market prices, which items are most in demand and when is the best time to sell.