Innovation and Change in Irrigated Agriculture

This team aims to study the dynamics of irrigated agriculture, at the level of local territories (which may be irrigated perimeters, aquifers and the irrigated farms that use them). In these irrigated areas, the functioning of farms, the management of water, agricultural economics and public action are interdependent. The study of the dynamics of irrigated agriculture concerns both processes of internal change, which can take the form of technical and institutional innovations, and the impacts of such processes. This includes recognizing the innovations that make it possible to take up the challenge of ecological intensification, and consequently to incorporate environmental issues from a descriptive, analytical, but also experimental perspective. The team also studies how irrigated agriculture adapts to physical, economic and political changes that are subject to strict management rules designed outside the local territories by the state, donors, etc. There is also a need to study how to help family farms survive increased competition upstream (especially for water resources) as well as downstream (competition on the markets for agricultural products) as well as strict land restructuring policies.

 

The main research questions tackled by this team are:

  1. Farms. What new forms of organization of agricultural production exist and what are the impacts of these different forms of organization on irrigated land? In particular, what are the new models of family farming? What are the capacities of these farms to control their links with the agricultural sector, water management, and public policies on irrigated territories? What are the consequences of the hydro-agricultural practices of family farms within the territory (within the irrigated area, the catchment area, etc.) and how do they all fit together? What is the place of family farms and what role can they play in sectoral irrigation policies that are designed and promoted at national and even international levels?

  2. Other actors in irrigated areas. Who are the other actors in these areas? In particular, which actors play a role as intermediaries between farms and sectors, water management and public action (in sales, in the implementation of development projects as development brokers, etc.)? How are irrigation policies designed?

  3. The conception and dissemination of social and technical innovations. What are the catalysts and limiting factors for innovation? What are the social, economic, and environmental impacts of these innovations at different scales (from the farm to the irrigated area)?

  4. Global change factors. How can external change factors (in particular global change) and the length of time required for the analysis of local territories be taken into account? How to build local scenarios of adaptation to global change?

In addition to their role as analysts, the researchers in this team can play a supportive role by designing participatory approaches to strengthen the role of local stakeholders in the dynamics of these irrigated areas.

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