Better rural livelihoods through improved irrigation management: Office du Niger (Mali) uri icon


  • In many parts of the world, improving rural livelihoods and income means transforming the way in which agricultural water is managed. Mali is a case in point. The Office du Niger formed in the 1930s as a centralized public enterprise to produce irrigated cotton and rice, has been significantly revamped since the 1990s. The result has been dramatic gains in rice production and farm incomes, and reductions in rural poverty. The case shows that changing agricultural water management requires a supportive macro-policy environment, and appropriate institutional changes and infrastructural investments. Equally important, it shows that those reforms may need to precede improvements in water management. Moreover, in aid-dependent low income countries reform cannot occur unless both government and donors concur on the need for change. Finally, the case drives home that improving water management is a continuing process; gains to date in economic efficiency and (to a lesser extent) equity in the Office du Niger now need to be matched by improvements in environmental sustainability

publication date

  • 2009

geographic focus