Water, food, and irrigation

Jaime Hoogesteger*, Diana Suhardiman, Gert Jan Veldwisch, Juan Pablo Hidalgo-Bastidas, Rutgerd Boelens

*Corresponding author for this work

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


Irrigated agriculture plays a central role in global food production as it provides resilience to rainfall variability, increased productivity and production security. However, it has also gone hand in hand with serious socio-environmental challenges. Large-scale irrigated agricultural production, which depends on both surface and groundwater resources, has encountered several technical and managerial challenges. It has led to widespread environmental deterioration through drying and polluting rivers, lakes, wetlands, and aquifers. At the same time, irrigated agricultural production has been increasingly commodified, specialized and globalized through large commercial farming enterprises, contract farming and international agro-export chains. This has led to widespread processes of land and water accumulation and related socio-environmental inequities in many regions of the world. In contraposition to this tendency peasant irrigated production plays a key role in producing for local and regional fresh food markets. In this context, we explore a few innovative and promising grassroots initiatives that spring from peasant agriculture. These are agro-ecology, farmer-led irrigation development and peri-urban agriculture, all initiatives that rest on the creation of local food production and marketing networks. Finally, this book chapter closes by setting out critical questions about policies and the political implications of food consumption patterns.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Water and Development
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781003095545
ISBN (Print)9780367558765
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2023


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