Transition Irrigation Boards offers opportunities South Africa
A recent exploratory mission made clear that collaboration between South African and Dutch partners can be fruitful, especially when focussing on introduction of affordable water treatment systems and information tools to support efficient irrigation in agriculture. The mission was carried out by Isobel van der Stoep (South Africa) and Peter Prins (Netherlands)
To achieve water efficient agriculture, an enabling environment is crucial. South Africa works hard to establish a national covering network of Catchment Management Agencies to govern regional water management issues. During this transition, daily operations are the task of Water Users Associations. In the meantime, their role is also changing: from former small Irrigation Boards towards local water managers aiming at achieving equity among all users in the system. The building process of new government bodies will take time.
The mission on Water & Agrofood focussed on the needs of South African stakeholders and explored opportunities for bilateral collaboration. Capacity building and training is spearheaded by a lot of counterparts.
The diversity of agricultural enterprises (varying from large scale commercial farmers to emerging farmers and smallholders) urges to distinct several target groups when it comes to a follow up. Their needs are different, the level of technology and education differ, but also the access to credits.
During the scoping mission several potential leads were identified. The Netherlands could offer partners on the distinguished topics like:
- capacity building (public and private target groups);
- water treatment;
- extension of water administration systems including metering and monitoring;
- improving efficient irrigation by using smart information systems to map soil, fertilization, biomass, soil moisture.
Several ongoing activities and projects of Dutch partners can offer synergy to give follow up to the leads which were identified during the short scoping mission. Recommended is to give follow up to the identified potential leads, to activate potential partners from the South African and Dutch sides.
The assigment was funded by Partners for Water 2016-2021.