Lucia Lema

In order to address the issues of food insecurity and climate change, we need to be engaged more in irrigated agriculture.

Sub-Saharan Africa
Tanzania Sub-Saharan Africa

What motivated you to study in the field of irrigation and food security?
Nowadays the issue of hunger and malnutrition is severe in least developed and developing countries, affected by population growth around the globe. Also the impact of climate change leads to food insecurity in many parts of the world due to prolonged droughts or flood events. Therefore in order to address the issues of food insecurity and climate change, we need to be engaged more in irrigated agriculture, which seems to be a relevant tool. These were reasons that motivated me to study irrigation and food security at IHE Delft.

What kind of field work did you undertake for your thesis research?
I evaluated the management of spate irrigation practices for rice crop production in three schemes in Bahi District-Dodoma in Tanzania. In spate irrigation, flash floods are diverted to rice fields and supply is highly uncertain in time and volume. Also, the farmers need to deal with large amounts of sediments and thus strong cooperation among farmers is crucial. I conducted interviews with farmers, management committee members, government officials and people engaged in marketing crops.  

What have you learned from this experience?
Water distribution among upstream and downstream water users within and among irrigation schemes needs to be addressed. If not, it can cause water use conflicts among the farmers due to the geographical location of their farms.

From my experience I learned that to have a better achievement of evaluation and monitoring through research we should have better baseline data. In my field work of my thesis research I have discovered a lack of records among the selected irrigation schemes such as water use and demand, financial data, and crop yield. If these data would have been available it would have made my research easier.

How can your research contribute to sustainable development in Tanzania?
Research can contribute to sustainable development in Tanzania if decision makers, policy makers, managers, implementers and other development stakeholders will work on solutions and recommendations derived from research findings. My research gives recommendations for strengthening farmer-managed irrigation schemes. Also, it will contribute by establishing baseline information that can be used by development stakeholders for evaluation and monitoring of spate irrigation projects.


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More information about Irrigation Engineering and Management for Food Security.

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