Successful implementation of large-scale drip irrigation projects: An exploratory study of the socio-economic impact of the apmip among smallholders in india

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Growing evidence suggest that drip irrigation is superior to traditional irrigation in terms of yield quantity and quality, water saving, and labour costs. The introduction of drip systems can thus have far-reaching implications for socioeconomic change, particularly among farmers in developing countries. Due to various constraints-such as the financial investment required for installation, training, and maintenance-previous initiatives to introduce drip irrigation in developing countries have not always been successful. This study offers preliminary findings regarding the recent large-scale implementation of the APMIP (Andhra Pradesh Micro-irrigation Project)-a mega-project of US$ 257 million in India, aiming at bringing 250,000 ha under micro-irrigation. 27 smallholders in three APMIP districts with at least one year of experience with Netafim drip systems, as well as APMIP officials, area managers and dealers were interviewed in 2007. Findings show that levels of satisfaction regarding training were generally high, although fertigation training was perceived as less successful due to problems of market applicability. For all crops considered (sugarcane, sweet orange, rice and vegetables) the use of drip resulted in significant yield improvement, with sugarcane productivity found to be significantly higher (+67%) compared to the other crops. One of the most significant outcomes was the ability of farmers to expand their plot size; average increase in plot size was found to be 2.5-fold. All the smallholders who increased their plot installed drip systems in the new area. This expansion also represented for many a gradual shift from subsistence to commercial agriculture. The paper concludes by discussing the broader administrative implications of the APMIP's scheme for large-scale projects of drip irrigation, particularly in the context of the shift from products to solutions, the mechanism of regulated competition, and the broader lesson that irrigation business is not just about financial return on investment-it is also about capacity building.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationInternational CIPA Conference 2012 on Plasticulture for a Green Planet
PublisherInternational Society for Horticultural Science
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9789462610002
StatePublished - 5 Jan 2014

Publication series

NameActa Horticulturae


  • Agricultural capacity building
  • Crop yield
  • Drip irrigation
  • Fertigation
  • India
  • Small holders

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Horticulture


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