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Farmer-led Irrigation Initiative: Events and engagement

January 01, 2018-December 31, 2020

Washington D.C.

Farmer-led irrigation is built on the belief that farmers should have agency and autonomy over decision making related to irrigation development and implementation. Farmer-led irrigation is a revolution already in progress that has the potential to positively change the fate of millions of smallholder farmers. To scale-up farmer-led irrigation and fast-track inclusive economic growth, the international community needs to boldly advance sustainable investments. 

  • Water for Food Forum -- Farmer-Led Irrigated Agriculture: Seeds of Opportunity

    Washington, D.C., USA. January 29-30, 2018

    Partners: The Water for Food International Forum was produced by the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska and the World Bank, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Agency for International Development.  

    Key takeaways:

    • Farmer-led irrigation, while not replacing large-scale irrigation, is in many cases the most viable way to rapidly scale-up irrigated agriculture for higher incomes and climate resilience as it responds at least partially to two of the major challenges of large scale – farmers decide on the technology and are responsible for the O&M, land tenure is a less constraining factor, and most of the financing comes from private (farmers, equipment suppliers, banks) rather than limited public funds.
    • Technology innovations are making Farmer-led irrigation increasingly accessible and financially attractive to farmers and also offers tools to mitigate the risks of rapid increases in the use of water and other natural resources.
    • Ensuring inclusiveness in terms of the poor, women and youth may require some public involvement but should and can be done through policies and approaches which enhance, rather than distort private supply chains for irrigation technology and services, such as improving the business climate for developing dealer networks, use of vouchers and microfinance programs.

    Event resources:


    African Green Revolution Forum – Side event on farmer-led irrigation and Presidential Summit

    Kigali, Rwanda. September 04, 2018

    African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) is widely recognized as the premier platform in Africa for advancing the continent’s agricultural transformation agenda. The 2018 theme was “Lead, Measure, Grow: enabling new pathways to turn smallholders into sustainable agribusinesses”.  The 2018 forum attracted more than 1,500 delegates and high-level dignitaries, including current and former Heads of State and Government; Ministers of Agriculture and Finance; eminent leaders of global and regional development institutions; top industry captains from the national, regional, and global private sector; and lead representatives of farmer organizations and key non-governmental implementing partners.

    The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the African Development Bank partnered with the World Bank to produce the side event called Farmer-led Irrigation for the Smallholder Farming Enterprises (SHFEs).

    Event resources:

    Global Food Security Symposium 2019

    Washington, D.C., USA. March 20-21, 2019

    Hear from government leaders, social innovators, and influencers at the Global Food Security Symposium about the conference theme From Scarcity to Security: Managing Water for a Nutritious Food Future.

    More information: 2019 Global Food Security Symposium


    Water for Food Global Conference

    Nebraska Innovation Campus: Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. April 29, 30, 2019

    “Water for a Hungry World: Innovation in Water and Food Security”

    The Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska (DWFI) will host the 2019 Water for Food Global Conference, April 29-30, at Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. Please join us as we explore the cutting-edge work being done to address one of the most urgent global issues of our time – ensuring we have enough nutritious food and clean water to sustainably support nearly 10 billion people in the next 30 years.

    The conference will convene leading international experts and organizations to discuss “Water for a Hungry World: Innovation in Water and Food Security,” focusing on the next generation of research, smart technology, policy development and best practices that are achieving breakthroughs in this vitally important mission. The conference headlines a week of water and food security-related presentations, side events, networking opportunities and tours.

    More information: Water for Food Global Conference