24 May 2022, Zimbabwe: The International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) project, ‘Transforming Irrigation systems in Southern Africa (TISA)’, has won the 2022 EFMD Excellence in Practice Gold Award in the Ecosystem Development category. The project is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and in collaboration with the University of South Australia (UniSA) and the Australian National University for “Transforming small irrigation farm businesses and their irrigator corporations from underperforming to sustainable business units.”
Dr. André Rooyen, Deputy Regional Director, ICRISAT’s East and Southern Africa (ESA) said:
“The award exemplifies the importance of embracing complexity in research and development, the transformative potential of multiple leverage points, and the value of functional partnerships to make it all happen.
It is an honor to be part of this team, but upon it rests a great responsibility to learn from it and to scale these lessons,’” said Dr. André.
Professor Andrew Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, ACIAR added that it is an honor for ACIAR and its partners to be recognized in the EFMD Excellence in Practice Awards, which celebrate some of the most outstanding and impactful leadership, learning, and development in the world.
“The award is an important recognition for the work of ACIAR and our partners to reduce poverty and enhance sustainable agricultural development through science partnerships., said Professor Campbell.
ACIAR has invested in Transforming Irrigation in Southern Africa since 2013. This innovative partnership has brought together African and Australian researchers to help farmers and the governments of Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe to achieve their development objectives.
Professor Campbell noted that the government statutory authority is proud that this research has helped farmers improve water management, delivering better livelihoods for women, the poor, and youth in irrigation communities in these nations.
ACIAR invests in and manages strategic partnerships with public and private research institutions to improve agricultural productivity, sustainability, and food systems’ resilience in partner countries.
Congratulating the winners, Jan Ginneberge, Senior Advisor at EFMD Corporate Services, notes that it was interesting to read how organizations keep adapting to an unpredictable context and how new standard practices begin to shape. The award ceremony will be held during the EFMD Executive Development Conference between 4-6th October 2022.
Governments and donors across Africa invest in the massive expansion of irrigated agriculture, assuming this will reduce poverty for smallholder farmers and increase food security. However, irrigation in Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced many challenges especially irrigation failing to provide an adequate return on investment, weak market integration and weak water governance institutions, and significant degradation and abandonment of irrigated land. While there are real opportunities to expand the area under irrigation, there is a need to increase existing schemes’ physical and economic land and water productivity.