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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Pays-Bas → 2003 → Irrigation practices, state intervention and farmers’ life-worlds in drought-prone Tigray, Ethiopia

Wageningen Universiteit (2003)

Irrigation practices, state intervention and farmers’ life-worlds in drought-prone Tigray, Ethiopia

Teshome, W.

Titre : Irrigation practices, state intervention and farmers’ life-worlds in drought-prone Tigray, Ethiopia

Auteur : Teshome, W.

Université de soutenance : Wageningen Universiteit

Grade : Doctor Thesis 2003

Résumé partiel
This study examines irrigation practices, state intervention and the responses of farmers in theTigrayregion ofEthiopia. Although governments have been involved in the construction of irrigation infrastructures since the mid-1980s to mitigate drought and famine in many parts ofEthiopia, the responses of irrigators to such interventions have never been studied. The main concern of this study therefore is to document how irrigation intervention interfaces with the life-worlds of small-scale irrigators. Two theoretical perspectives are combined : asociotechnicalapproach to irrigation and an actor-oriented analysis of the dynamics of state intervention. The former helps to explore irrigation management practices and the social effects of the technology used. Irrigation constitutes an arena of struggle where social actors negotiate and make decisions about technology and water management. The latter perspective focuses on the confrontations and interpretations of intervention as defined by the different actors and their contrasting life-worlds. A case study method is employed to investigateHewaneand Gum Selassa irrigation systems located in the drought-prone region ofTigray. The methodology used is largely ethnographic, that is it is concerned with understanding the social lives of local people and discovering how they construct meanings and livelihood practices in the natural, economic and socio-political settings in which they are located.

The thesis consists of eight chapters. The first outlines the conceptual and theoretical approaches used and lays out the main research questions that guide the study and its methodological considerations. Chapter 2 provides an account of the context of the research and an overview of agrarian policies and conditions, drought and famine situations, and irrigation development and technology choices. A brief historical account shows that none of the various government policies pursued over the previous thirty years has enabledEthiopiato feed its people adequately. In drought-prone regions likeTigray, food-for-work and labor mobilizations for the construction of infrastructure such as roads and dams have been a regular and essential part of farmers’ life-worlds since farm production has often failed to meet family needs. In these circumstances, government and international development bodies have looked to irrigation as a solution to the conditions of drought and famine.

Mots clés : DEVELOPMENT STUDIES / RURAL SOCIOLOGY / GOVERNMENT POLICY / AGRICULTURAL POLICY / AGRICULTURAL PLANNING / IRRIGATION SYSTEMS / AGRICULTURAL HOUSEHOLDS / ETHIOPIA / RELATIONS BETWEEN PEOPLE AND STATE / FOOD SECURITY

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