Programme  OS6k Rural water conservation and reuse  abstract 680

Integrated assessment of the impact of a small reservoir on land use and livelihood in Burkina Faso

Author(s): Katrin Zitzmann, Quang Bao, Claudia Arntz
Katrin Zitzmann (Geographer): Phd student at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn Claudia Arntz (Geographer): Senior Researcher Glowa Volta Project at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn

Keyword(s): Small reservoir, Livelihood, Land use change, Participatory irrigation managment, Burkina Faso

Article: abs680_article.pdf
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Session: OS6k Rural water conservation and reuse
AbstractAccess to natural resources, particularly land and water, by the rural poor is critical for poverty

reduction. In Burkina Faso, construction of dams is one established approach to secure and to improve farmers’

livelihoods by increasing and diversifying food production.
This paper examines the outcomes of the establishment

of a small reservoir in Dano, south-western Burkina Faso, in 2002, by the Dreyer Foundation, a private German

development foundation. When the project was initiated, the paramount objectives were to ensure permanent access

to irrigation water, and subsequently to increase agricultural production, particularly rice production. Knowledge

concerning appropriate levels of support needed to meet these targets, and simultaneously to ensure sustainable land

use in the perimeter of the reservoir were incomplete, however. Following the establishment of the reservoir, the

Dreyer Foundation therefore has sought to identify optimal approaches to financial and technical assistance in order

to improve irrigation management and extension services. Permanent access to water, small subsidized loans-in-kind

of seeds and fertilizers as well as provision of extension service all have had impacts on land use management, and

consequently on farmers’ livelihoods. In addition, the Dreyer Foundation has guaranteed the purchase of rice

cultivated within the irrigation area.
However, new challenges regarding land use practices and participatory

irrigation management have emerged, and require appropriate solutions. This paper examines the ways in which

farmers’ land use and management have changed, and the impacts these changes have had on farmers’ livelihoods,

using the livelihood framework as analytical concept. Findings are based on intensive household and plot-based

surveys as well as group discussions with farmers conducted in 2006 and 2007. Additional, semi-structured

interviews with experts and key informants were also conducted. The paper further discusses opportunities and limits

of participatory irrigation management, and a private development initiative.
The paper provides

recommendations on the design of assistance strategies to enhance the benefits that small reservoirs and participatory

irrigation management can provide. These include diversification of crops and intensification of agricultural production

for further improvement of farmers’ livelihood as well as enhanced participation and interaction between farmers and

the Dreyer Foundation.

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