Newsletter June 28, 2016

Dear Spate Friends,

We hope all is fine wherever you are.
We have a couple of things we would like to inform you about:

  • IFAD Knowledge-sharing event in Rome, Italy
  • Floating rice-based systems in the Mekong River Delta, Vietnam
  • Milk Churner Demonstration in Western Kenya
  • Spate Irrigation in Somaliland
  • Exposure Visit of Agri-Engineering Students and Teachers to Spate Areas of Sindh, Pakistan
  • World Water Day 2016 Celebrated at Sindh Agriculture University and in villages of Jamshoro, Pakistan
  • Videos spate irrigation Balochistan, Pakistan
  • Reconnaissance Research Codifying Water Rights in Contested Basins of Afghanistan project
  • Memorandum of Understanding with Dire Dawa Water Resource Bureau, Ethiopia
  • Progress Harnessing Floods to Enhance Livelihoods and Ecosystem Services, Sudan and Ethiopia
  • ICRAF Annual Leadership Course in Flood-based Farming and Water Harvesting, Kenya and Tanzania
  • IFAD Annual Meeting, Germany.

 IFAD Knowledge-sharing event: “Adapting to climate-change using lost water resources”

On June 28, a knowledge-sharing event took place at IFAD in Rome with IWMI (Safe-nutrient water reuse), MetaMeta (Flood-based farming systems using spate irrigation) and RAIN (Rainwater Harvesting). They will share results of completed projects and guide/improve the work of new projects for scaling-up.  A wrap-up report will then be released to inform the implementing countries.
For the event the Spate Irrigation Network Foundation has prepared a video about the Spate Irrigation for Rural Economic Growth and Poverty Alleviation project (2011-2015) that you can find on

Floating rice-based systems in the Mekong River Delta, Vietnam

Deepwater rice – also known as floating rice − is native to the Mekong River Delta, and in the past was grown widely across its floodplains in Vietnam, particularly in the Long Xuyen Quadrangle and the Plain of Reeds. Floating rice held significant cultural, ecological, environmental and historic value, yet since the mid-1970s the area of production has been greatly reduced due to the extensive building of dykes and the introduction of high yielding rice varieties.
In a new initiative, farmers, with support from university researchers and the local government, plan to re-expand the area under floating rice cultivation. This is sparked by the recognition that floating rice has multiple ecological, social and economic values that are very relevant to rice production in contemporary Vietnam.
Floating rice is first grown on rainwater until flooding occurs in mid-August. As the flood water level rises gradually the rice plants’ stalks lengthen to follow the rising water upwards. When the water level recedes in November, the rice plants lie flat on the ground, flower and produce grain which is then harvested in December. During the flood season, farmers also harvest wild fish inside the flooded fields.

We are pleased to share with you several articles about these remarkable Floating Rice-Based systems by dr. Nguyen Van Kien (
Comparing the costs and benefits of floating rice based and intensive rice based farming systems in the Mekong Delta
An economic evaluation of flood dike construction in the Mekong Delta
Economic and social benefits of flood-based livelihoods in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta
Farmer’s perceptions of and responses to the annual flood events in the Vietnamese Mekong River Delta
Winners and losers of the floods in the Mekong Delta – a study from Vietnam
And also an interesting video: Floating rice based systems in An Giang province

Milk Churner Demonstration in Western Kenya

On March 12, 2016, the milk churner  was successfully demonstrated to staff of GIZ at New Yala Dairy Cooperative, Western Kenya. This was part of the “Green Innovation Centres in the agri-food sector project”  that promotes innovation in the milk value chain in Western Kenya.
From 3 liters of fermented milk, butter was extracted in 11 minutes and later converted into ghee (as ghee is not perishable like butter and have long shelf life and also very popular in the country). It is expected that farmers could sell 250 ml of ghee for a profitable price of KS 300 (2,68 euros). MetaMeta and GIZ are in discussion for a follow up.

Spate Irrigation in Somaliland

On March 15, 2016, FAO launched a spate irrigation project in Somaliland. Karim Nawaz has been involved to build up the capacity of the spate network in Somaliland. He has conducted trainings to the local team existing of four experts (a three days orientation session about the spate project and a training for trainers (TOT) in order to train the staff of ministry of agriculture regarding spate irrigation and the new project). Furthermore he shared with the FAO staff and several farmers seeds of 15 crops and trees suitable to spate irrigation areas.




Exposure Visit of Agri-Engineering Students and Teachers to Spate Areas of Sindh, Pakistan

In May 2016, the Research and Development Foundation (RDF) organised a  exposure visit to spate areas of Jamshoro district. 100 students and teachers of Agriculture Engineering faculty of Sindh Agri University visited the Darawat Dam of the Pakistan Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA)  and a spate scheme under supervision of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC)

World Water Day 2016 Celebrated at Sindh Agriculture University and in villages of Jamshoro

On 22 March 2016, The Research and Development Foundation (RDF) together with Spate Farmers, Sindh Agriculture University and NGOs celebrated ‘World Water Day” at Sindh Agriculture University Tando Jam and a village in Jamshoro district.





Reconnaissance Research NWO project “Codifying Water Rights in Contested Basins of Afghanistan”

Under the guidance of Dr. Qayeum Karim, mr. Wais Aria Khan and Karim Nawaz, a reconnaissance research was conducted by the Engineering Partnership Research and Service Organisation (EPRSO) in spate irrigation systems of Nimruz province of Afghanistan. It included extensive study of irrigation site visits and interviewing of different stakeholders for achieving the most suitable information regarding water sharing and distribution and conflict sources and resolutions of this area. It can be used for future decision making bodies and further development of irrigation areas in this specific province. See the link to read the report:
See also:

Videos spate irrigation Balochistan, Pakistan

There are some interesting videos on spate irrigation in Balochistan, Pakistan onTheWaterChannel. The first video is about the decision making process to build new constructed barrages on spate irrigation systems,
Furthermore please find a video lecture on spate irrigation opportunities and groundwater in this region:

Memorandum of Understanding with Dire Dawa Water Resource Bureau, Ethiopia

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with Dire Dawa Water Resource Bureau, Ethiopia. This MoU will help to achieve the objectives of the Dire Dawa Bureau of Water Resources and Spate Irrigation Network in developing meaningful water resources development and management activities in the district.

Seeds suitable under drought and spate irrigation

A small report by Karim Nawaz has been published on seeds suitable under drought and spate irrigation. There are unique crop/shrub/tree seeds which have promising scope for use in staple food, commercial value, livestock, medicinal value, soil fertility improvement. The idea is to test seeds of crops, shrubs, grasses, and trees of one country/location to another in somewhat similar environment. These seeds are, initially, for test purpose under different climate conditions, season and circumstance. Upon progress, such activities are evaluated to further work, when proved successful, and propagate on wider scale.

IFAD Annual Meeting

The annual meeting for the project: Africa to Asia and Back Again: Testing Adaptation in Flood-based Farming Systems was held in Schenkenschanz (Germany) in the period 28 to 30 April, 2016. Project leaders from the four target countries (Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen and Pakistan) and the three implementing partners (ICRAF, MetaMeta and SpNF) were gathered and reflected in an involved setting. They discussed the progress of the project and worked out a systematic business vision and work plan for 2016 for the four countries as a way forward. Another major point of discussion was the startup of the internship program. To ensure the continuity of the spate irrigation network more young experts should be motivated to participate through the Internship program and involved in spate irrigation.
For more information click on this link:

Progress Harnessing Floods to Enhance Livelihoods and Ecosystem Services Sudan

The aim of the Harnessing floods to enhance livelihoods  is to optimize the use of floods for agriculture and ecosystem services to support livelihoods in different landscapes and socio-economic settings of the Gash. Since the project launch in April/May 2015, (baseline) hydrological and socio-economic data have been collected by our local partner the Hydraulic Research Centre (HRC).  The latest research outputs are:

  • For the existing investments, the average annual yield of Gash River (800 Mm3) is partially sufficient for the dependant water users. However, determination of priorities and wise management of usage is highly recommended for future investments taking into account the importance of relevant ecosystem services and sustainability of the socio-economic dimension.
  • Ground water basin is replenished by about 30% of Gash River yield annually. Giving priority to domestic water supply, the water consumption of horticultural sector has to be decreased by 25%.
  • For future development, attention is to be paid to the impacts of upstream investments on the development downstream i.e. Gash die.
  • In Gash River basin, education level decreased from upstream to downstream. This definitely effects on farm productivity, household income and nutritional outcome.
  • Strong commitment to an integrated approach for Gash River water resources management by involved governmental and non-governmental institutions can lead to optimize the benefits for all users.

Video Harnessing Floods to Enhance Livelihoods and Ecosystem Services Ethiopia

This video shows the work that has been conducted by Mekelle University in the Raya Valley Basin, Ethiopia under the Harnessing Floods to Enhance Livelihoods and Ecosystem Services Project, part of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystem’s work in the Nile and East Africa Region.
The aim of the research for development project is to add value to ongoing decision making concerning Flood-based Farming Systems (FBFS) development in Ethiopia and Sudan by assessing and valuing the synergies and trade-offs between the different functions and benefits of FBFS under various development scenarios for different stakeholders and the environment.

ICRAF Annual Leadership Course in Flood-based Farming and Water Harvesting

The first annual leadership course on flood based farming and rainwater harvesting (29 February to 11 March 2015) has successfully been organized! The two weeks course included a week of technical training where 25 participants of 9 countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Sudan, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen) attended lectures on technical aspects of FBFS and rainwater harvesting.  The second week of the course took place in Tanzania where Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) organised a field visit and deliberations with farmers to showcase the application of FBFS and rainwater harvesting in the Pangani River Basin. Presentations can be found on


Wishing you the best,

Abraham, Frank, Finhas, Matthijs and Linda