Pumps, Prosperity and Household Power: Experimental Evidence on Irrigation Pumps and Smallholder Farmers in Kenya
80 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2022
Irrigation is a potentially effective technology to improve agricultural incomes in Sub-Saharan Africa, and hand powered irrigation pumps have received significant interest and investment as a solution appropriate to small-scale farmers in this context. Despite this interest, there has been little rigorous evaluation of their effectiveness. This paper provides describes the results of an RCT impact evaluation of household irrigation pumps in Kenya, where we randomly allocated free pumps to the female head of household via public lotteries. After two seasons farmers are still making significant use of their pumps and allocating increased time to irrigated agriculture. We find that pumps increase net farm revenue by approximately 13% of the control mean, and pay for themselves within three seasons. In addition, we find that farmers with irrigation pumps spent less time on off-farm economic activity. Finally, we find that female decisionmaking power increased and domestic violence decreased among treatment households.
Keywords: irrigation, agriculture
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