2003 Volume 2003 Issue 44 Pages 68-79
The rationale for Participatory Irrigation Management (PIM) in Zambia is derived from operation and maintenance, market and government inadequacies in managing irrigation projects on the one hand, and, on the other, from the inadequate capacity for the government to subsidize initially heavily subsidized irrigation projects as well as the need for user management. This paper looks at smallholder irrigation projects and attributes their poor performance and outright failure, in certain cases, to lack of involvement and mutuality of understanding of needs, roles, and social-economic factors among stakeholders in the cycle and process of development. The role and impact of PIM in irrigation development projects is ascertained through contrastive assessment of irrigation economic efficiency and performance of the projects. Economic efficiency of projects is based on the projects' economic viability, evaluated using economic indices based on the Economic Internal Rate of Return (EIRR) and Net Present Value (NPV). Project performance is evaluated on the basis of irrigation water utilization based on the difference between total irrigation water supplied and actual water beneficiaries used for irrigation.
This study concludes that PIM enhances overall performance of irrigation projects against low EIRR and NPV that are indicative of projects' economic viability. Project efficiency and/or performance of economically viable irrigation projects are negatively affected by the absence of PIM. A procedural framework model for implementing PIM in smallholder irrigation projects is proposed, with the aim of ensuring self-sustainability and fostering “full cost recovery” by beneficiaries.