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Integrating "Invisible" farmers in a regional debate on water productivity: The case of informal water and land markets in the Algerian Mitidja plain

Imache A., Bouarfa S., Kuper M., Hartani T., Dionnet M.. 2009. Irrigation and Drainage, 58 (3) : S264-S272.

In the irrigated scheme of West Mitidja, access to land and water is ensured through countless local informal arrangements. The assignees of small collective farms have subdivided the land informally, and rent out part of it to lessees, thereby circumventing current legislation. The surface irrigation system provides only a small proportion of irrigation water to farmers, who rely mainly on groundwater for irrigation. The results of our analyses show that the agricultural dynamics of this perimeter are to a large extent ensured by ''invisible'' farmers cultivating land obtained through informal land markets and using groundwater via ''illicit'' tubewells. These farmers are also important vectors for innovation (new irrigated cropping systems, drip irrigation). We organized a series of workshops with farmers (assignees and lessees) and government agencies to explore agricultural development and water management perspectives in the area. Our work showed that it is land and water markets that should be formalized rather than land or water property so that lessees will be considered as actors for water management and agricultural development in the area. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : eau souterraine; eau d'irrigation; gestion des eaux; algérie

Thématique : Ressources en eau et leur gestion; Irrigation; Méthodes de recherche; Sociologie rurale et sécurité sociale

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