A Benchmark to Analyze On-Field Performances: A Case From an Irrigation Scheme in Tunisia

  •  Salia Hanafi    
  •  Hassouna Bahrouni    
  •  Lassaad Albouchi    
  •  Eymen Frija    
  •  Jean-Cristophe Poussin    


Irrigation systems entail interacting processes that should be considered when analyzing the performances of irrigated areas. When analyzing the cause of performance gaps, one may consider the effect of one factor without taking into account the effect of other influential ones. This study addresses the performance of irrigated areas using a global approach. The analysis includes different factors of the production process and examines the relationship between irrigation and the economic performances of farmers’ irrigated fields. Results showed that technical efficiency (TE), considered as our economic indicator, evaluating the degree to which the inputs are used efficiently, was about 0.85 for fruit orchards, tomato, wheat and 0.66 for olive trees. The on-farm water distribution efficiency (Efarm) that evaluates water lost during its transport to plots was poor and can decrease to 36%. A great potential for improving water management exists. Efarm was not a significant factor for TE. So, Efarm causing substantial water waste has no significant impact on economic performance, the main concern of the farmer. However the easy access to water was a significant factor for TE (p-value < 0.032 in all the cases). The easy access to water is a possible lever for improvement.  We pointed out that irrigation performance in the studied area has no significant impact on economic performance. There is a divergence between the farmer’s interest (the economic efficiency) and the community’s objective to save water through better irrigation performance. Government efforts to provide incentives for farmers for better water management seem to have born no fruit. This study argues for the use of a bechmarking in building global representation adapted to the actual local context. The analysis approch suggests that more attention should be paid to the “water saving program” of Tunisia, by subsidising irrigation investments in a better way and focusing on subsidies that create the most of economic growth.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.