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Arlindo Fortes


Arlindo Fortes is a PhD candidate in development studies at Lisbon School of Economics and Management (University of Lisbon), Assistant Professor and Researcher at the University of Cabo Verde where from 2012-2017 he was director and coordinator for undergraduate courses in agronomy. He also worked in East-Timor as a rural specialist. His main research focus is on Political Economy, Agrarian Change and Rural Development. He holds an MSc in International Cooperation and Development (Lisbon School of Economics and Management), a PGDip in African Studies and Development (Portuguese Catholic University) and a BSc in Agriculture Engineering (Instituto Superior de Agronomia). He has also participated in several international research projects.


Agriculture, Irrigation and Processes of change for Small Island Developing States: The Socioeconomic Impacts of Dams in Cabo Verde

The objective of this work is to critically assess the impacts of irrigation Dams on agricultural development in Cabo Verde. The government of Cabo Verde has focused its agriculture policy on expansion of dams for irrigation, in order to improve the contribution of agriculture to economic development, namely by increasing production and trade and improving the livelihoods in rural areas. The construction of dams has been mainly financed by foreign loans, which need to be repaid. This article will assess whether this policy is fulfilling its goals, focusing on whether dams have increased irrigated areas, have contributed to increase production of tradable goods, employment and real incomes in those areas, and are feasible and sustainable from an environmental point of view.The study covers seven dams built over three islands of the archipelago of Cabo Verde. The article will consist of four main parts. The first, a literature research, sets the theoretical framework, looks at international experience and defines the methodology. The second investigates the rationale for investing in dams in Cabo Verde as the key component of agriculture policy, and the assumptions associated with such a policy (that dams results in more irrigation, this in more production and trade, these in higher incomes, and so on). The third sets the model of assessment and explains the information to be used. The fourth presents the result and conclusions. Information to be utilised comes from the literature of this field of research. Mainly from secondary sources, official statistics and several empirical works (doctoral theses, master’s dissertations, specific articles on environmental and social impacts, government and international institution reports as well as media news) since interviews will not be possible due to COVID-19 restrictions. The model referred to, above, in section three of the article, combines qualitative and quantitative (descriptive statistics) analysis. The dimensions of the model will include the social (rural population and people displaced as a result of irrigation development), economic (crop yields, farm incomes, relative value of agriculture in GDP, level of agricultural trade) and environmental (production sustainability, area affected) by salinity, use of chemicals and fertilizers, irrigated land area).This work is relevant intellectually, by adding to the knowledge and debate regarding dams, irrigation, agriculture and sustainability, environment and social implications and by providing detailed and systematic evidence about Cabo Verde (in the form of statistics and of historical and social narratives).

Affiliation: University of Lisbon & University of Cape Verde