Farmer-led Irrigation Development (FLI) – Webinar Series

Farmer-led Irrigation Development (FLI) - Webinar Series


August 26, 2020    
1:00 pm - 1:45 pm


World Water Week
World Water Week - Webinar, World Water Week - Webinar
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Session 3Session 2Session 1

Operationalizing farmer-led irrigation: implementers dialogue

Wednesday 26 August | 17:00-17:45 CEST

Co-conveners: Global Water Partnership | International Water Management Institute | Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska | Water Youth Network | World Bank Group

Join us at this year’s virtual World Water Week (@ #WWWeek #AtHome) organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) to explore the development of farmer-led irrigation towards a resilient, sustainable and inclusive future. Implementers – including practitioners, government representatives, private sector actors, and donors, will engage in a dialogue to identify key actions at different scales to take sustainable and inclusive farmer led irrigation development forward.

Smallholder farmers in the Global South are gradually expanding land under irrigation as technologies such as solar-powered pumps become cheaper and more accessible. Farmer-led irrigation development (FLI) clearly holds potential to improve the lives of small-scale farmers, increase food and water security, enhance resilience to climate change and promote economic development. How can we support scaling of farmer-led irrigation development, also ensuring sustainability and inclusion?

Experts and stakeholders have started discussing at the global level the many inter-linked issues to consider and promising approaches that may be further deployed, such as financial mechanisms, affordability of energy costs, institutional arrangements, minimizing potential environmental impacts, and ensuring no one is left behind.

Building on a dedicated webinar series  held in 2020 to stimulate debate on these issues, which gathered more than 850 participants, the session will engage implementers and the audience to identify key actions at different scales to take sustainable and inclusive farmer led irrigation development forward. Following a presentation of key insights emerging from the webinar series, a diverse group of implementers will dialogue on how to implement or transform these insights into investments, and the audience will be invited to share their perspectives.



10 min. Introduction and sharing key insights gathered from the two webinars

25 min. Dialogue with implementers

We will have a roundtable to initiate a dialogue “from the perspective of the implementers”. The panelists will be asked “HOW” they would implement or transform insights from the FLI dialogues held in June and July into investments, and also present their role in contributing to FLI investment or implementation in their country.

10 min. Interactive session with the audience and closing

Audience poll and Q&A if time allows
Closing remarks

Featured Speakers

Pieter Waalewijn
Global Lead Water in Agriculture, World Bank

Richard Colback
Agribusiness Water Specialist at International Finance Corporation

Onyaole Patience Koku
Managing Director at Replenish Farms

Julienne Roux
Senior network specialist, Global Water Partnership

Nicholas Brozovic
Director of Policy at the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute and as a Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Mure Agbonlahor
Senior Agricultural Production and Marketing Officer at African Union Commission

Stéphane Lako
Head of Irrigation and Drainage Division, Cameroon Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Water Youth Network focal point to WASAG

Toby Hammond
Managing Director at Futurepump

Petra Schmitter
Senior Researcher at the International Water Management Institute

Speaker Profiles

Peter G McCornick

Nicholas Brozovic

Accelerating inclusive Farmer-led Irrigation development: a sustainable approach to reaching scale

July 9, 2020 at 13:00 – 14: 30 UTC

Washington: 9:00 – 10:30
Rome: 15:00 – 16:30
Delhi: 18:30 – 20:00
Sydney: 23:00 – 24:30


Farmer-led irrigation development (FLI) has gained increased attention by government institutions, development and implementation partners as one of the potential solutions to build climate resilience for smallholder farmers and transform food systems to support healthy diets for all. The knock-on effects of health-related disasters such as the Covid-19 pandemic on market disruptions impacting food and nutrition security, enforces the urgency to increase multiple purpose water access and increase local community resilience.

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) together with the Water Global Practice of the World Bank, The Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute and the Global Water Partnership (GWP) are hosting a virtual mini-series to discuss key issues and identify a way forward for operationalizing sustainable and inclusive scaling of farmer-led irrigation development. The two-part webinar series is geared towards practitioners, policy makers, private sector and researchers interested in further advancing FLI globally and overcoming the often observed systemic barriers in reaching scale.

In part I of the webinar our experts shared their perspectives on the systemic barriers to scaling farmer led irrigation development. We zoomed in on strengthening supply chains and services and how innovative finance modalities could support social inclusivity. In part II of webinar, we raise the question on how accelerating FLI development can be sustainable and inclusive. How do we ensure water security whilst supporting agricultural economic development? What are the incentives across actors within food systems to support sustainable use of water resources? How do we ensure that water access remains equitable to all water users? What is the role of institutions and regulations to safeguard and stimulate water stewardship?

Read the outcome of the webinar here.

Featured Speakers

Peter McCornick
Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute

Regassa Namara
The Water Global Practice of the World Bank

Petra Schmitter
International Water Management Institute

Shilp Verma
International Water Management Institute

Barbara Van Koppen
Rural Water Supply Network and International Water Management Institute

Joy Busolo
The 2030WRG Africa of the World Bank

Peter Repinski
Global Water Partnership

Armand Houanye
Global Water Partnership

Dave D’Haeze
Hanns R. Neumann Foundation

Claudia Ringler
International Food Policy Research Institute

Sarah Keener
The Water Global Practice of the World Bank

Speaker Profiles

Peter G McCornick

Today, around 500 million farmers live on less than two hectares. These smallholders generate between 30-34% of the global food supply and thus play a key role in improving food security, protecting crop and biological diversity and ensuring the sustainable intensification of agricultural systems. Small-scale farmers face significant challenges, including competition for water and reliance on unpredictable rain to grow food.

Additionally, weather-related disasters – such as floods, droughts, and heat waves – are increasing in frequency and intensity. As a result, over 400 million people are expected to be vulnerable to yield losses under climate change, requiring urgent adaptation action. The Global Commission on Adaptation (2019) and Malabo Montpellier Report (2019) highlight the urgency for innovative water and renewable energy solutions to transform agricultural production systems amid a changing climate. Now in the face of global pandemic, enhancing the resilience of farming communities to shocks and stresses while providing water, food and nutrition security has never been more important.

The World Food Program indicates that additionally 130 million lives and livelihoods will be at risk. Aside from the challenges rural populations face in terms of safe and clean water access, national response and mitigation measures may indirectly cause market disruptions that impact food and nutrition security. These negative impacts enforce the urgency to increase multiple-purpose water access and local community resilience.

Farmer-led irrigation development (FLI) has the potential to sustainably and effectively improve the lives of small-scale farmers. It may also pave the way for inclusive economic growth, improved livelihoods, and increased food and nutrition security – while supporting the transformation of food systems toward more efficient, sustainable, and climate resilient production. Recently, the African Union identified FLI as one of the four pathways to support Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the Agenda 2063 objectives.

What is farmer-led irrigation development (FLI)?

Farmer-led irrigation is when farmers drive the establishment, improvement, and/or expansion of irrigated agriculture – and influence the location, purpose, and design of irrigation development through small-scale, on-farm, and locally relevant solutions.

Farmer-led irrigation is built on the belief that farmers should have agency and autonomy over decision making related to irrigation development and implementation. It is a cost-effective and scalable agricultural water management solution.

However, scaling up farmer-led irrigation development requires addressing challenges such as underdeveloped irrigation supply chains and services, and agricultural value chains for irrigated commodities and high value crops, high upfront costs and lack of access to finance, gender inclusion gaps in access to and benefits from FLI and limitations in water resource governance.

Series of interactive webinars on FLI                      

Conscious of the need to come together to solve these challenges, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the World Bank, the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, and the Global Water Partnership will host a series of interactive webinars on accelerating inclusive farmer-led irrigation development. The virtual mini-series will explore key issues and next steps for operationalizing sustainable and inclusive FLI scale-up. The webinars are geared toward practitioners, policy makers, the private sector, and researchers interested in advancing FLI globally.

The farmer-led irrigation development webinar series will feature diverse stakeholders – including innovators, thinkers, and doers. The webinars will provide an innovative platform to enable collective learning about innovative cases, successes, and challenges associated with farmer-led irrigation development.

Session 1
Accelerating inclusive FLI and reaching scale: Key considerations

11th of June at 9:00 am Washington DC/13:00  UTC /15:00 Rome/18:30 Delhi

The first session aimed to:

  • Generate a common understanding of challenges and opportunities in scaling inclusive and sustainable FLI with public and private sector;
  • Discuss the potential for new concepts and solutions to overcome systemic barriers and accelerate FLI;
  • Discuss successful and innovative financial modalities and business models to enhance social inclusion and strengthen irrigation supply chains.

Read the outcome of the webinar here.

Featured Speakers

Claudia Sadoff
International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

Thai Thin Minh
International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

Nicole Lefore
Innovation Labo for Small Scale Irrigation, Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture Development

Phil Woodhouse
University of Manchester, SAFI-network

Jennifer Sara
The World Bank

Regessa Namara
The World Bank

Nicolas Brozovic
Daugherty Water for Food Glabal Institute

Samir Ibrahim


Speaker Profiles

Claudia Sadoff


Nicole Lefore

Phil Woodhouse

Jennifer Sara

Regassa Namara

Nicholas Brozovic

Samir Ibrahim

The webinars offer the opportunity to bring to light the challenges, opportunities, and innovations associated with farmer-led irrigation development. In turn, they will help shepherd environmental sustainability and help uplift the lives of farmers – toward a water and food secure world for all.

Spread the word about this interactive learning experience by sharing the registration link and join the discussion on social media @IWMI_, @WorldBankWater, @waterforfood, @GWPnews with #Farmerledirrigation.