Eight hundred million of the current 1.1 billion people who earn less than a dollar-a-day live in rural areas in developing countries. Since more than 550 million of them earn their living from agriculture, poverty eradication depends on increasing their income from farming. The millennium goals for hunger and poverty in the semi-arid tropics will not be met without four simultaneous revolutions. A revolution in water is needed to develop and mass disseminate a whole range of new affordable small plot irrigation technology. A revolution in agriculture is required to enable smallholders to produce a variety of high value marketable labor intensive cash crops. A revolution in markets is needed to open access to inputs and to profitable markets for their high value crops, incorporating effective strategies for aggregation, quality control, and decentralized added value processing. Finally, a revolution in design based on the ruthless pursuit of affordability is needed to support the other three revolutions. This paper describes the rapidly growing micro-irrigation revolution exemplified by the $250 million in new net annual income now being earned by Treadle Pump farmers, and outlines the key features of the other three revolutions required to meet millennium poverty goals.
Water and the other three revolutions needed to end rural poverty
P. Polak; Water and the other three revolutions needed to end rural poverty. Water Sci Technol 1 April 2005; 51 (8): 133–143. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wst.2005.0243
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