Marcel Kuper

Marcel Kuper
Cirad - La recherche agronomique pour le développement | CIRAD · Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD)

PhD Habil.

About

231
Publications
82,390
Reads
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2,955
Citations
Additional affiliations
January 2021 - present
UMR G-Eau
Position
  • Managing Director
September 2003 - July 2020
Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II
Position
  • Professor
August 2000 - present
Cirad - La recherche agronomique pour le développement
Position
  • Senior Researcher

Publications

Publications (231)
Article
For many years, large-scale irrigation around the world was based on state-driven water management and on a planned innovation process and diffusionist extension services. The purpose of this study is to show that formal extension services are not the only intermediaries of innovation and that local innovations take place at the initiative of farme...
Article
Developing irrigation technology for a diversity of farmers with rapidly changing demands can be hard for designers, especially when the technology concerns smallholders in developing countries. Innovation networks supporting the adopted technology increasingly include both globalised players and very local actors, making innovation intermediaries...
Article
Full-text available
If the success of agricultural intensification continues to rely on the depletion of aquifers and exploitation of (female) labour, transformations to groundwater sustainability will be impossible to achieve. Hence, the development of new groundwater imaginaries, based on alternative ways of organizing society-water relations is highly important. Th...
Book
Initially associated with hi-tech irrigated agriculture, drip irrigation is now being used by a much wider range of farmers in emerging and developing countries. This book documents the enthusiasm, spread and use of drip irrigation systems by smallholders in the global South to explore and explain under which conditions it works, for whom and with...
Article
Full-text available
In many countries, the challenge of sustaining rural water supplies is entrusted to community organizations, which have difficulties in performing durably the operation, maintenance and cost recovery of rural water supply systems. This paper analyzes how rural communities struggle to ensure a sustainable access to water, while seeking close interac...
Article
One of the most elaborate community initiatives for the management of groundwater consists of managed aquifer recharge and use. In the oases in the M’zab valley in the Algerian Sahara, the collective action that upholds these initiatives has been challenged in past decades by the development of intensive groundwater use with individual pumps in new...
Article
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User-led innovation is increasingly happening in a globalized context, connecting local experience to outside ideas, knowledge, and technologies. Alternatively, local innovations designed, manufactured and marketed for a particular context travel to other settings. We analyze the diffusion of a low-cost artisanal irrigation pivot from the Suf Valle...
Article
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Local development organisations are now widespread in rural regions of North Africa. In the past, these organisations were usually only involved in a few sector‐specific activities. This study investigated the activities of 24 local development organisations in the Saharan regions of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The fields of action of these organ...
Article
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Despite the attention given to the water–energy–food nexus, there is little field evidence of how this plays out for irrigators. This article analyses the diversity of irrigation system configurations and their related water and energy use in semi‐arid Morocco, where groundwater‐fed and pressurized drip irrigation, although supposedly thrifty, is e...
Article
The current focus on water saving in drip irrigation projects has stifled more classical engineering debates on the relevance of different irrigation techniques for specific field conditions. We show that these debates remain important by analysing a drip irrigation project implemented in a sprinkler irrigation district in north‐west Morocco. The o...
Article
Full-text available
The foggara in the Algerian Sahara has often been portrayed as a traditional ingenious but immutable irrigation system incapable of keeping up with the radical socioeconomic and environmental transformations of the 20th and 21st centuries. Yet, oasis populations continue to use a large number of foggaras. The aim of this study was to reveal the imp...
Article
The use of groundwater is increasing worldwide, particularly in agriculture. This leads to pumping races (from which the poorest farmers are often excluded), environmental disasters and the degradation of groundwater quality. Based on discussions 25 between scientists and operational experts in two workshops held in 2018 and 2020, this paper, after...
Article
Full-text available
Les eaux souterraines sont devenues indispensables pour l’agriculture dans les pays semi-arides et dont les ressources en eau sont sous forte pression. À de rares exceptions près, elles sont longtemps restées invisibles. Leur mise en visibilité – sur les plans physique, social, économique, territorial, et institutionnel – résulte d’un processus de...
Article
Full-text available
Drip irrigation technology in existing collective surface irrigation schemes is frequently implemented through top-down policies and black box projects, causing significant changes in agricultural water management, uneven effects on local practices and organisations, and very different reactions in the social structures of irrigation. In this paper...
Article
Full-text available
La pression exercée sur les eaux souterraines, notamment par l’agriculture, s’accroît dans toutes les régions du monde. Des courses au pompage s’engagent dont les agriculteurs les plus pauvres sont rapidement exclus. Ce papier présente les solutions proposées notamment par les pouvoirs publics pour encadrer l’accès et l’usage de ces ressources afin...
Article
This paper presents an analytical framework to identify and understand grassroots water governance practices, which we call ‘rooted water collectives’ (RWC). RWCs can be multi-scalar organizations that engage in common property resources management or multi-scalar social movements that advocate for common property resources governance. The framewor...
Article
Full-text available
In 2012, the Turkish state launched a nation-wide program, "1,000 gölet in 1,000 days", to increase irrigated areas. However, these gölet (small hillside reservoirs), which are to be transferred to farmers’ organizations, are often implemented in areas where farmers already irrigate from groundwater, and from one village to another, their appropria...
Article
Full-text available
Dans un contexte de développement de l'agriculture irriguée et de surexploitation des eaux souterraines, le Maroc s'est lancé dans des processus de mise en place de contrats de nappe dans le but de responsabiliser les différents usagers et de les encourager à s'impliquer dans la gestion de ces nappes. C'est le cas pour la nappe de Berrechid où l'ag...
Article
The need for lasting returns on the large investment in state-sponsored drip irrigation projects and the ambitious objectives aimed to achieve requires thorough and continuous assessment of the performance of irrigation systems in use. However, few studies have evaluated the performance of systems once they have been installed, leading to overestim...
Article
This paper aims to analyze interactions between local practices of obtaining private access to groundwater for irrigation, and public policies of groundwater management. The aquifer system in the Saïss Plain in Morocco has enabled the development of an intensive agriculture, supported by ambitious agricultural policies. At the same time, the River...
Article
Full-text available
In rural areas in developing countries, the origin and persistence of prevailing narratives of failed collective action have often been explained by the existence of relations of domination. This article focuses on a case in which power relations alone cannot explain the persistence of a prevailing narrative. In a large-scale irrigation scheme in M...
Article
Full-text available
Au Maroc, l’exploitation individuelle des eaux souterraines a permis le développement rapide d’une agriculture irriguée intensive. Dans la plaine de Berrechid, la ressource est limitée et surexploitée. L’agence de bassin tente depuis une dizaine d’années de mettre en place une contractualisation avec différents acteurs pour réguler les prélèvements...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we examine the greenhouse horticulture in Algeria’s Sahara, which is one illustrative example of the agricultural transitions that have taken place in North Africa on the new irrigation frontiers created through groundwater use. The entrepreneurial farming systems in the region are characterized by considerable mobility. Geographic m...
Article
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Au Maghreb, la mobilisation des eaux souterraines a permis le développement rapide de filières agricoles basées sur des systèmes de production très intensifs en capital. Ces transitions rapides ont entraîné dans bien des situations une surexploitation des eaux souterraines. L'objectif de l'article est d'analyser comment une telle surexploitation af...
Article
Since the 1980s, the Biskra region in Algeria's Sahara has undergone rapid agricultural change leading to territorial transformation. Horticultural production under greenhouses, associated with a rapid expansion of date palm plantations, has led to a tangible agricultural boom that is constantly pushing the boundaries of agricultural production and...
Article
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This paper analyses how changes in pumping modes of groundwater reveal social and territorial transformations within an agricultural landscape. Our case study is the Saïss plain in the North of Morocco, where irrigated agriculture is mostly based on groundwater. The paper shows how farmers switched from the use of groundwater from the shallow phrea...
Article
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Since the 2008 global food crisis there has been renewed interest in irrigation infrastructural development, which has sometimes been taken up by the same agencies that developed large-scale surface irrigation in the 20th century. This article presents a case study of the recent '1000 small dams in 1000 days' programme in Turkey to analyse the cont...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this paper is to analyze the emerging entrepreneurial practices on family farms in two agrarian reform cooperatives in Morocco. Their emergence can be explained by the constant negotiation of multiple and sometimes even antagonistic logics within these farms in a context of rapid agrarian change and the juxtaposition of capitalistic, ent...
Poster
Full-text available
Are young rural men and women interested in farming or in rural futures? This question challenged a group of researchers to document the experiences of young rural men and women in several agricultural areas in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. In North Africa there are many signs of rural youth engaging in agriculture and even returning to their villa...
Article
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Socio-hydrology advanced the field of hydrology by considering humans and their activities as part of the water cycle, rather than as external drivers. Models are used to infer reproducible trends in human interactions with water resources. However, defining and handling water problems in this way may restrict the scope of such modeling approaches....
Article
Agriculture in the Algerian Sahara underwent radical transformations during the second half of the 20th century. Agricultural development programs, aiming to integrate the Sahara in the national economy, were based on an agribusiness model implemented outside existing oases – in the so-called extensions – through the conquest of new agricultural la...
Article
Drip irrigation is widely used in a range of different farming systems. Farmers generally adapt drip irrigation systems to their specific conditions. Irrigation performance is usually related to the hydraulic parameters of drip irrigation, and is usually expressed as a single static value. We developed a comprehensive approach to account for irriga...
Article
Agriculture in the Algerian Sahara underwent radical transformations during the second half of the 20th century. Agricultural development programs, aiming to integrate the Sahara in the national economy, were based on an agribusiness model implemented outside existing oases – in the so-called extensions – through the conquest of new agricultural la...
Article
Full-text available
Oases in North Africa: Territorial dynamics and sustainability of farming systems. The Saharan oases experienced particularly profound and destabilizing changes in the second half of the 20th century, accompanied by social, economic, agricultural and environmental transformations. New extensions and agricultural projects have been implemented throu...
Conference Paper
Groundwater use has favoured the emergence of more intensive agricultural systems in North Africa, often referred to as the “groundwater economy”. In this communication, we are looking at one illustrative example of the agricultural transitions that have taken place in North Africa on the new irrigation frontiers created through groundwater use, th...
Chapter
This chapter shows how, through a process of ‘bricolage’ on drip irrigation, a distributed innovation agency emerged across different local actors. This allowed drip irrigation to be adapted to a wide range of users and uses in North Africa. It simultaneously created local experience and expertise, and increased the demand for drip irrigation. ‘Bri...
Chapter
The introduction to this book sets out to question why the belief that drip irrigation is a promising technology to save water, modernise agriculture and help the poor remains powerfully intact, despite growing evidence of more contrasted field situations. It pleads for going beyond these narratives to understand the multiple realities of drip irri...
Article
Groundwater service markets are important and dynamic institutions that provide water to a wide range of farmers in many regions. However, these institutions represent arenas of complex and often antagonistic relations, which determine which farmers gain access to water and how. This study analyses the emergence and functioning of groundwater servi...
Article
Surface water and groundwater for irrigation are frequently used conjunctively, especially in semiarid and arid regions. Planning conjunctive management involves several difficulties, one of which is adapting irrigation institutions and infrastructure to coordinate the management of multiple water resources. This article focuses on the social and m...
Article
Full-text available
Durant les cinq dernières décennies, le Sahara algérien a connu plusieurs programmes de développement agricole fondés sur l’exploitation de l’eau souterraine. Les pompages d’eau souterraine effectués dans les nouveaux périmètres de mise en valeur sont souvent montrés du doigt pour avoir fragilisé les systèmes hydrauliques ancestraux des foggaras (o...
Article
Full-text available
Conventional irrigation performance assessments narrowly confine the possible effects of using drip irrigation to what it is designed to do, i.e., improve efficiencies. While helpful in the design, such assessments leave little scope for the possibility that irrigators adopt the technology for reasons other than improving efficien-cies. Using a cas...
Article
Full-text available
Water is a limiting factor for the development of oasis agriculture. Water use efficiency needs to be improved by searching for different strategies of deficit irrigation. In this context, the response of date palm to these strategies was evaluated by the experimental study of the effects on the vegetative growth of mature palms cv Majhoul. The exp...
Article
ABSTRACTThe recent history of groundwater use in North Africa provides a cautionary tale for climate change adaptation. Even though the short-term threats of groundwater overexploitation are clear, and territorially bounded, and involve comparatively few players, in recent decades, agricultural intensification has consistently increased pressure on...
Chapter
Efficient irrigation technologies increase agricultural production and potentially save water. Using the case of modernization projects in a small-scale farmer-managed irrigation system in Morocco, we critically discuss the wisdom of solving problems of water scarcity through technological solutions such as drip irrigation and canal lining. In part...
Chapter
Full-text available
Irrigation designers generally do not target smallholders for drip irrigation and their standard low-cost kits are not suitable for smallholders’ diverse and evolving requirements. Incremental farmer-led innovation of drip irrigation may be more suitable for small-scale farmers. This chapter describes the different farmer-led adaptations of drip ir...
Chapter
In a context of water shortage and liberalized land and water markets, peasants have increasing difficulty obtaining access to irrigation. The Chilean state promoted the improvement of irrigation efficiency through the introduction of irrigation technology as a solution to this problem. This chapter analyses the process of state-led technology tran...
Article
Abstract In North Africa, the development of groundwater-based irrigation enabled agricultural intensification and market-oriented production. Groundwater use was also often said to alleviate smallholder poverty. However, there is growing evidence linking the expansion of groundwater-based agriculture with increasing socioeconomic inequalities in a...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter analyses the paradox of continued promotion of drip irrigation through state subsidies and donor-funded projects, on the basis of claims of water savings that are rarely backed up with evidence. Focusing on groundwater, two questions are proposed to unravel this double paradox: why is there increased pressure on groundwater resources d...
Article
This essay introduces a collection of articles that explore the future of groundwater-based agriculture in the Mediterranean from an interdisciplinary perspective, in a context of declining water tables due to intensive groundwater use. The imminent crisis that many groundwater economies face due to very rapid and intense global change may have sev...
Article
Full-text available
An incremental innovation: design and diffusion of an artisanal center pivot for irrigation in the Souf (Algerian Sahara). In the Algerian Sahara, several horticultural production areas emerged on the margins of traditional oases over the past twenty years through the use of deep groundwater. In the Souf valley, farmers produce potatoes irrigated b...
Article
Full-text available
En raison de sa bonne efficience potentielle, l’irrigation en goutte à goutte enterré (GGE) a été récemment introduite au Maroc. Ce document discute son utilisation pour le palmier dattier dans l’oasis du Tafilalet (Sud-Est duMaroc), où une conception et une gestion appropriée de ce systèmedoivent être proposées aux agriculteurs. L’objectif de l’ar...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this paper is to investigate the notion of collapse of agricultural groundwater economies using the adaptive-cycle analytical framework. This Framework was applied to four case studies in southern Europe and North Africa to question and discuss the dynamics of agricultural groundwater economies. In two case studies (Saiss in Morocco and...
Article
Groundwater resources in semi-arid areas and especially in the Mediterranean face a growing demand for irrigated agriculture and, to a lesser extent, for domestic uses. Consequently, groundwater reserves are affected and water-table drops are widely observed. This leads to strong constraints on groundwater access for farmers, while managers worry a...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Much attention has been paid to the issue of groundwater depletion linked to intensive groundwater-based agriculture in (semi-)arid areas. Often referred to as the “overexploitation” of aquifers, groundwater depletion is generally attributed to the entire agricultural sector without distinguishing between different uses and users. Although...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract In the Saïss plain, the access to groundwater enabled the rapid transformation of farming systems (extension of arboriculture and horticulture) and the production of wealth. However, these changes affect only a minority of farmers who are able to access and use groundwater. This rapid agricultural development has contributed to the creatio...
Chapter
Full-text available
L'exploitation des eaux souterraines est souvent minière et donc non durable. Nous illustrons, à travers des exemples du pourtour méditerranéen, que la durabilité des eaux souterraines est généralement subordonnée à d'autres enjeux socio-politiques. Ces pratiques peu durables posent la question de la compatibilité entre la vitesse d'épuisement de l...
Poster
Full-text available
Groundwater has become an important source of welfare in North Africa. It is redefining irrigation frontiers and supplies water to more than 500 000 farms. However, more than half of aquifers, which cater to a minority of farmers, are declining. North Africa’s groundwater economy is increasingly faced with physical and socio-economic stress.
Chapter
Full-text available
Two contrasting views prevail on groundwater use in situations of predominantly state-­‐led irrigation development. The first considers 'groundwater as liberation', i.e., how, by capturing the irrigation initiative, farmers liberated themselves from 'state' water, enabling more intensive and productive agriculture. The second view – 'groundwater as...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Dans la vallée du Souf dans le Sahara algérien, le recours aux nappes profondes a abouti à la remontée des eaux de la nappe phréatique, en absence d’un système de drainage. Ceci a conduit à l’ennoiement des systèmes hydrauliques traditionnels des Ghouts s’alimentant à partir de la nappe phréatique. Les agriculteurs se sont alors orientés vers la cu...