Virtual forum: Operationalizing farmer-led irrigation development at scale

Virtual forum: Operationalizing farmer-led irrigation development at scale


September 2, 2021    
11:00 am - 1:30 pm


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How to design your interventions to build sustainable and climate-resilient food production systems

Thursday, 2 September 2021 | 11:00-13:30 UTC/14:00-16:30 EAT

Co-organized by the African Union Commission (SAFGRAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the World Bank, the forum will provide an interactive platform to discuss and share learnings on the design of public and private interventions to catalyze farmer-led irrigation development (FLID) on a larger scale, at a faster pace and in a more inclusive and sustainable way.


The forum builds on the launch in 2020 of the African Union Commission’s Framework for Irrigation Development and Agricultural Water Management and the publication of the World Bank’s Farmer-led Irrigation Development Guide – A what, why and how to for intervention design. Both propose investment in FLID as a means to achieve climate resilience and support agricultural economic transformation. 

Harnessing the potential of FLID to meet government targets 

Across Africa, smallholder farmers have always been essential to food security. Today, they face unprecedented challenges stemming from rapid population growth, erratic rainfall, climate variability and, most recently, the Covid-19 pandemic. Without access to innovative water and renewable energy solutions, agricultural production will fall short, and millions of households could face increased hunger and poverty. 

To address these threats, governments across Africa have set ambitious targets for irrigation expansion and higher farm productivity. Farmers are playing a key role in driving the achievement of these targets, leading the establishment, improvement and expansion of irrigated agriculture.  

Farmers’ action in irrigation is nothing new, but it is only in the past two decades that governments and the development community have recognized the immense opportunities FLID offers to improve food security, mitigate climate-related shocks and stimulate economic growth through income generation.   

Objectives and target audience 

To harness the full potential of FLID, there is a need to overcome constraints in farmers’ access to equipment as well as financial and agricultural markets. The 2.5-hour live streamed virtual forum will address all these constraints as well as introduce practical tools to support the design of contextually relevant FLID interventions. 

The target participants are regional- and national-level irrigation and agricultural water management planners and policy makers, donors, project implementers, experts, farmers’ organization representatives and other stakeholders.

Featured speakers

Opening remarksPanelistsSpeaker profiles

Opening remarks and presentation of the IDAWM framework

Ahmed Elmekass
Coordinator SAFGRAD, African Union Commission
Ade Freeman
Regional Program Leader, FAO Regional Office for Africa
Ousmane Dione
Country Director for Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan, World Bank
Mark Smith
Director General, International Water Management Institute
Josefa Sacko
Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission
Mure Agbonlahor
Senior Agricultural Production and Marketing Officer, African Union Commission

Block I – A diagnostic tool to understand the potential of and challenges to the FLID process


Petra Schmitter
Senior Irrigation Specialist, World Bank
Jonathan Denison
Consultant to the World Bank and FAO on agricultural water development
Elias Awol Mohammed
Director for Small-Scale Irrigation Development Directorate, Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopia
Jean Kamwamba-Mtethiwa
Senior Lecturer in Irrigation and Water Management, Department of Land and Water Resources, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR), Malawi

Block II – Designing and implementing interventions to catalyze the FLID process


Gabriella Izzi
Senior Irrigation Specialist, World Bank
Ronald Kato Kayizzi
R.Eng., MUIPE, Acting Commissioner, AIMWfAP Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Uganda
Emile Ruzibiza
Head of the Department of Land Husbandry, Irrigation Innovation and Technology Transfer at the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board
Osman Sahanoon Kulendi
CEO Pumptech, Ghana
Alaa Elbably
Director of the Soil, Water and Environmental Research Institute (SWERI), Agricultural Research Center (ARC), Egypt
Thai Thi Minh
Senior Researcher – Innovation Scaling, IWMI; and Scaling Lead, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation (ILSSI)
Ahmed Elmekass
Coordinator SAFGRAD, African Union Commission