Successful small-scale irrigation or environmental destruction? The political ecology of competing claims on water in the Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania

Harrison, Elizabeth and Mdee, Anna (2017) Successful small-scale irrigation or environmental destruction? The political ecology of competing claims on water in the Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania. Journal of Political Ecology, 24. pp. 406-424. ISSN 1073-0451

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Abstract

In the Uluguru Mountains of Tanzania, an expansion in informal hosepipe irrigation by small-scale farmers has enabled the development of horticulture and resulted in improvements in farmers’ livelihoods. This has taken place largely independently of external support and can be seen as an example of the ‘private’ irrigation that is increasingly viewed as important for sub-Saharan Africa. However, these activities are seen by both representatives of government and some donors, as the cause of both environmental degradation and water shortages downstream, especially in the nearby city of Morogoro. As a result, there have been attempts to evict the farmers from the mountain. Negative narratives persist and the farmers on the mountainside are portrayed as a problem to be ‘solved’. This article explores these tensions, contributing to debates about the formalisation of water management arrangements and the place of the state in regulating and adjudicating rights to access water. We argue that a focus on legality and formalisation serves to obscure the political nature of competing claims on resources that the case illustrates.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: irrigation; Tanzania; ethnography; political ecology; water
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
School of Global Studies > International Development
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Elizabeth Harrison
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2017 10:01
Last Modified: 21 Mar 2017 10:39
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/67135

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
Innovations to Promote Growth among Small-scale Irrigators in Africa: An Ethnographic and Knowledge-Exchange ApproachG0983ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILES/J009415/1