Period of performance:
Throughout the developing world, the dissemination of appropriate irrigation technologies can help farmers mitigate a principle risk of agricultural production: a lack of adequate rainfall. This risk affects farmers’ food securities, livelihoods, and cropping choices. Irrigation extension services, through public and private actors, can reduce this risk’s effects on farmers. However, the market and policy environment that enables the dissemination of these technologies, and, in particular, the linkages in this environment between public policies and private enterprise, merits greater scrutiny. This study brings together a multidisciplinary faculty and student research team from across MIT to examine how extension service policies affect private irrigation technology supply chains, using a case study of Senegalese irrigation policies and firms. Exploiting heterogeneity in climatic conditions, policy implementation, and market actors across Senegal, this study will use mixed methods to: 1) characterize any extension policy and market conditions under which different irrigation technologies become available and affordable; 2) and identify the supply chain designs that achieve that availability and affordability. The theoretical contribution and practical application of this research is immediate: as extension services throughout the developing world increasingly rely on private supply chains, understanding the impact of public extension policy on private supply chains operation and design is critical for countries investing in agriculture as a path to food security, economic growth, and/or farmers’ livelihoods.