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Project On-farm irrigation development project

Project area. The project will be implemented in selected areas of the five governorates of Assiut, Qena and Sohag in Upper Egypt and Kafr El-Sheikh and Beheira in Lower Egypt. Overall, 12 branch canal irrigation command areas and their associated villages will be covered.

Target group. The poorer strata of the rural population in the project area will be targeted, primarily smallholders with less than 3 feddans (1.26 hectares), tenants, sharecroppers and landless people. Priority will be given to unemployed young people, poor women and woman-headed households. Approximately 1 million households will make up the target group.

Project number 1447
Geographical coverage Egypt
Budget (in €) 41235840
Programme IFAD
Web site
Objectives The overall goal is to improve the livelihoods of the rural poor (small farmers, the landless, rural women and unemployed young people) through targeted interventions to enhance the productive potential of farms and raise household income. This will be achieved by: (i) improving the irrigation network, prioritizing areas where an overwhelming majority of the farmers own less than three feddans; (ii) enhancing the agricultural productivity of smallholdings through an appropriate integrated research and extension system; (iii) supporting marketing for smallholders and the landless; and (iv) improving rural financial service access and providing capacity-building to promote employment and income-generation for the target group through the development of microenterprises and small businesses.

Project description. In addition to project coordination and management, the project will have three components:

  • Irrigation and water management. This component aims to increase agricultural production and farm incomes through better on-farm irrigation and water management. This will be achieved through: (i) improved on-farm irrigation systems for more rational use of irrigation water; (ii) enhanced water management practices for more equitable distribution of available water; and (iii) greater and more effective participation in water management by all stakeholders to ensure sustainable crop irrigation. Support will be provided through two subcomponents: (i) rehabilitation and development of on-farm irrigation systems; and (ii) institutional development and capacity-building.
  • Agricultural competitiveness enhancement. The component will provide demand-driven training and agricultural technical assistance to farmers, individually and through farmers' marketing associations and water users' associations. A participatory approach to research and extension will be used, together with an on-farm research system. Emphasis will be placed on: (i) better water management and promotion of modern irrigation systems; (ii) soil quality improvements (particularly in Lower Egypt); (iii) promotion of crop diversity and introduction of high-value crops with potential markets, such as non-traditional and organic fruit, vegetables, dairy products and medicinal plants; (iv) crop rotation and crop-livestock integration; (v) pilot schemes to scale up climate change adaptation measures by farmers; (vi) sound management of smallholder farms to achieve higher and sustainable returns per unit of land and water; and (vii) support for local farmers' organizations through capacity-building and service provision.
  • Rural enterprise and microfinance development. The project will provide financing, capacity-building and business advisory services for the development of microenterprises and small business in the project villages (those associated with command areas). It will promote agricultural development, on- and off-farm enterprise development, farmers′ marketing associations and income-generating activities to provide employment and improve the socio-economic conditions of the target group. The component consists of: (i) rural finance through demand-driven lending; (ii) strengthening of financial intermediaries (community development associations, NGOs); and (iii) support to marketing associations and small and medium-sized enterprises.
Results Important features. The proposed project, which builds on and complements other interventions in the irrigation sector, is fully aligned with the strategic objectives of IFAD's country strategic opportunities programme. It is also consistent with the Government's poverty reduction strategy and agriculture and rural development strategy. The project has a number of features that are innovative in the context of rural Upper Egypt: (i) introduction of a new integrated approach to irrigation system improvements in which user involvement from branch canal downward will ensure completion of the improvement process; (ii) provision of sustainable access to financial services for the target group in five governorates through partnership with the Social Fund for Development (as an apex institution) and community-based financial intermediaries; (iii) replication - with adjustment to local conditions - of the IFAD-supported farming systems research approach to render activities market- and demand-driven; and (iv) introduction of a participatory extension approach that, for the first time, will bring extension staff from the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation together with staff from the irrigation advisory services of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation and will deliver a harmonized message on crop and water use to the farmers.
Period [01/10/2009 - 30/10/2017]