Policy and institutional dimensions of small-holder farmer innovations in the Thukela River Basin of South Africa and the Pangani River Basin of Tanzania: A comparative perspective uri icon


  • Over the last decade, prompted by shifts in international thinking about natural resources management, by donor conditionalities, and by fiscal crises, many developing countries have instituted sweeping reforms of their water management regimes. Most of the reforms generally focus on management of blue water while excluding green water. On the other hand, agricultural policy is generally focused on modernization of agriculture through extension services at the farm level. Small-holder system innovations (SSIs) and the interactions between water for food and ecosystem services are not properly addressed in terms of their policy and institutional dimensions. Using case studies from the Thukela and Pangani river basins, this paper demonstrates the importance of SSIs in improving food production. It traces the history of the SSIs and the institutional configurations arising therefrom. Preliminary evidence from the research being carried out in the two basins indicates that when rainfall is inadequate or unreliable and water shortages limit crop production, the uptake of resource conserving technologies can bring about sustainable agriculture for local communities. The challenge is to find ways in which these can spread beyond their small localities and reach other communities. The paper focuses on institutional arrangements, support systems and policy requirements at different scales that can enhance adoption of SSIs. The SSIs include rainwater harvesting and conservation fanning. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2005
  • 2005

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