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close this bookDesign and Operation of Smallholder Irrigation in South Asia (WB, 1995, 134 p.)
close this folderChapter 3 - Land shaping and water distribution at the field level
View the documentLand shaping by the cultivator vs. institutionally
View the documentLand shaping and water management in smallholder irrigation
View the documentLand shaping as a project component

Land shaping as a project component

Precision in land shaping is a prerequisite to efficient irrigation, from the viewpoints of both application of water to and drainage of water from the field. The quality of land preparation actually encountered varies from excellent to very poor. In formulation of new projects in smallholder areas not already levelled and bunded for rainfed paddy, land shaping in the past has frequently been made a project component, usually involving communal mechanized operations, via credit. However, because of the poor repayment record this practice has largely been discontinued with some exceptions, and land preparation is left to the cultivator's initiative. The missing element in this situation is technical assistance to the cultivator in the design and layout of his progressive land shaping operation.

Improvement in land shaping in areas already under irrigation but where land shaping is notably deficient, would nominally be a desirable subject for the attention of development agencies. However, the assistance actually needed is again the provision of field-level technical staff rather than funding (other than to credit institutions). As back-up to such land development extension efforts, provision of audio-visual demonstration and training material, and the development and demonstration of improved animal-drawn or farm tractor drawn land shaping equipment could be effective areas of assistance.