Over 23 Irrigation experts working in agriculture departments in ministries, NGO’s and agencies from various African countries have undergone training on African Irrigation Development: Planning for productive future, to equip them with skills and knowledge to improve the Irrigation sector.
The two weeks’ short course was organized by the Center for Water Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy Futures (WISE-Futures) hosted at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in collaborations with the University of Manchester from 4th-15th March 2019.
The course aimed at addressing knowledge gaps and other impending challenges related to irrigation and water management in Africa, in a bid to increase the yield, reduce food insecurity, and contribute to GDP and to provide employment as most of Africans depend in Agriculture production.
Participants were trained about Satellite Information for improved decision making in irrigation management, the technology which can map out the extent of currently planted fields. During the session Irrigation expertise ware able to access about 10day old Sentinel 2A satellite imagery of a scheme in Madibira, Southern Tanzania. With that, they could visualize the area under irrigation and different crop development stages.
During the training key issues covered in the training include; history, actors, technologies, challenges and outcomes, Introduction of ODK tool for mapping irrigation development, Groundwater irrigation and farmer-led irrigation development, Value chain analysis in irrigated agriculture, Irrigation and Gender, crop monitoring tool and mapping irrigation development and Participatory irrigation design.
Through lectures, exercises, Canal cleaning game, group discussion participants also was able to visits different field in Moshi order explore the challenges and possible solutions for different types of irrigation in Mandaka Mnono , lower moshi Irrigation scheme ,Mawala Irrigation scheme ,Shallow well in Kahe, Miwaleni drip scheme, Groundwater scheme in Uchira and Afrisem Seeds company in Arusha.
Mr. Mohamed Naouri and facilitator on short course explained the one of irrigation challenges: “as Africa needs to develop irrigation technologies that meets the evolving requirements of farmers. Irrigation engineers face difficulty in generating the innovations and adaptations necessary to the diverse range of situations and contexts, especially when it concerns smallholders in developing countries”
He highlighted that its important that the farmers are involved in innovation “the government and other actors should support farm-led irrigation by a policy of dialogue with local innovation networks and value addition to the young farmers in “technology translation” instead of transferring rigid agricultural models by recognize the local sociotechnical networks, join them in an active way and get involved in the dialogue around innovation in the different agricultural production sectors”
The course was attended by 23 participants from different parts of Africa male 15 and female 8 participants of which 83% of them were regional Sudan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia Zimbabwe and Algeria.
Speaking during the closing remark the Center Leader of WISE-Futures, Dr Hans Komakech urged the participants to use the skills and experience shared in solving different challenges facing African on irrigation.