ICTs for Small Scale Irrigation


BMZ/GIZ: German Federal Ministry of Economical Cooperation


GIZ: German Corporation for Technical Cooperation


Modern information technologies help small-scale farmers in many ways. From improved communication to better access to information, from training videos to market access, phones, apps, drones, sensors and computers are becoming more and more popular. Apps for early warning, weather data and identification of crop health problems, apps and programs for financial management and mobile banking are emerging everywhere.

ICT specifically designed for small-scale irrigation, however, is rare. While it plays a major role for improving irrigation efficiency and for monitoring irrigation water use at regional and national scale, there are only few apps specifically dedicated to small-scale irrigation. This has to be seen as an opportunity to invest in this technology field. The number of farmers in small-scale irrigation in Africa and Asia is large, and their demand for technology is high.

Four fields of application deserve a closer look:

  • ICT-driven improvement of water use efficiency
  • ICT for behavioral change in SSI
  • ICT and monitoring in SSI
  • Smallholders’ access to SSI-related information

The challenge is, to select the most suitable technology for the given context so that smallholder farmers can afford the solution, can understand and handle the solution, and can start using it to make their businesses and their environment more sustainable. By selecting the right target group and the right technology, ICT can be strong means for the development of the SSI sector in general and for increasing the sustainability of the smallholders’ businesses in particular. It can help farmers understanding and protecting their environment, resolving and avoiding conflicts over resources and managing better the complex relation of different factors of irrigation.


23. May 2020


Digital Agriculture, Food Security