Access to irrigation is a challenge for small-scale farmers in developing countries, particularly when it comes to financing that access against future production. During a web-based seminar – or “webinar” – on Oct. 8, irrigation specialists from GPOBA, the World Bank, the IFC and the Water and Sanitation Program brainstormed ways to create sustainable irrigation solutions.
In a recently released report, GPOBA looked at the opportunities and risks in using an output-based aid (OBA) for small-scale irrigation schemes, drawing on examples from India and Zambia. (See The Use of Output-Based Aid in Small Scale Irrigation Schemes in Developing Countries.) OBA differs from traditional aid in that it pays based on results, or outputs.
Irrigation is an extremely complex sector, because so many factors influence outcomes. Sustainable solutions can be difficult to achieve, but necessary to help developing countries reduce poverty and share prosperity.
“The outlook is generally positive” for the use of OBA in small-scale irrigation, said Jacob Burke, a lead irrigation specialist with the World Bank Group. “There is a last mile gap where small holders not covered and OBA could be used to close those gaps.”
GPOBA has successfully tested OBA approaches in water, energy, and health sectors. Irrigation is a new area for GPOBA – a less-tested sector where there is little experience with OBA.
Rajesh Advani, who leads GPOBA’s water efforts, said the webinar was designed to “stimulate thinking in terms of OBA and irrigation. We want to gauge intent as to what the appetite is for an OBA project and find a suitable environment for a project.”
This is the fourth webinar in the series sponsored by GPOBA.