Pangu: a method for distributing the work of maintaining and repairing
small-scale irrigation systems
The pangu method was used in two projects in one village (launched
during the same year) but was also found in many other villages where the
research took place. In all cases, irrigation tanks were repaired during
a period of drought, and are now being maintained on a routine basis (cleaning
of bund: annually, cleaning of the canals: at the start of cultivation
seasons; small repairs: ad hoc). The two projects in the village mentioned
above (close to Medawachchiya) was sponsored by the Freedom from Hunger
Campaign Board (FFHCB), and the other by the World Food Programme.
The pangu method is based on the traditional system for sharing
the work for cleaning and maintenance of the irrigation infrastructure.
It involves digging and/or desilting the reservoir, raising or strengthening
the bund, clearing the bund of bushes and weeds, and cleaning out the canalsand
small repairs of the canals in case those are damaged. According to this
method, every paddy land owner (of land in the command area of a particular
tank) is responsible for cleaning and repairing one section of the bund
or canals, allocated to him or her. In case of desilting the tank (rehabilitation
works), the tank bed will be divided in sections which are usually of such
a size that work on them can be completed by one or two persons in one
day, and after division, those sections are allocated to the participants
in the rehabilitation works. Participants are paid for their work, either
in money or in food, according to the number of sections they have completed.
The chairman of the Farmers' Organization or the vel vidane administers
the system, keeping an attendance list and making the payments. Technical
officers of the local government agency involved (might be the Department
of Agrarian Services or the Divisional Secretariat) pay a regular visit
(with an interval of once a week, once every 2 weeks) for supervision of
The rehabilitation of the projects mentioned above was completed in
1996. The annual maintenance is still going on.
RESOURCE ALLOCATION, FARMERS, SHARED WATER RESOURCES, IRRIGATION SYSTEMS,
COUNTRY: SRI LANKA
Regions: Anuradhpura District
Neighbourhood: Walpola (close to Medawachchiya)
The pangu method creates a sense of ownership and responsibility
by involving farmers in both the planning and the implementation stages
(as opposed to using contractors).
It discourages people from trying to get "a free ride" since each person
is clearly accountable for a specific share of the work. This is different
from the more commonly used shramadana method, in which implementation
is also done collectively but people are not responsible for a particular
share. With shramadana, some families send their children as representatives
(who are too young to deliver the same output as adults) or shirk the participation
STAKEHOLDERS AND BENEFICIARIES
Because the farmers do the work rather than hired contractors, this approach
is cheaper and therefore more sustainable. It creates more feeling of 'ownership'
and responsibility for maintenance. Furthermore, the farmers are accountable
for the condition of their share (whether this is the tank bed, the bund
or the canals).
During periods of drought, when cultivation is not possible, participation
in the rehabilitation works (also using the pangu method) provides people
with some income or food.
Yields improve as the rehabilitation works improved the functioning of
the physical infrastructure and regular maintenance is conducted.
the system is not undermined by the non participants, for - in case of
rehabilitation works - participants are paid for their participation, where
as non participants don't get food packages or money, and - in case of
regular maintenance - non-paddy landowners are not forced anymore to participate
in cleaning activities of tanks from which they cannot get any direct benefits
in terms of food supply or income.
In case of the projects mentioned above, an international NGOs, a large
donor agency (the WFP) and the Department of Agrarian Services were directly
involved in the project. Farmers (both landowners and non landowners) were
informed, and involved in the labour works of the rehabilitation. The system
is not restricted to paddy land owners; people without land may take part
through temporary membership. In other projects (depending on the funding
agency) the Divisional Secretariat (AGA and technical officers) and local
Samurdhi officers were involved. In those cases the participation was sometimes
restricted (though not formally) to beneficiaries of the Samurdhi programme
and landowners of paddyland in the command area of the tanks.
The two projects in Walpola were initiated and are funded by the World
Food Programme and the Freedom From Hunger Campaign Board. They were designed
and formulated by the organizations' technical officer, by a local agent
of the Agrarian Service Department, and by the Farmers' Organization responsible
for coordinating the repair and maintenance activities.
Up to 100 people have taken part in each of the projects.
STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES
The costs are low.
The method creates a sense of responsibility and ownership and accountability.
Participants are provided with food and income.
The circumstances under which the projects took place and the way they
were implemented proved to be favorable for participation of women. Working
hours were from 8 am until 1 or 2 pm, during a season when demand for female
labourers is low and families are living mainly from the day labour of
the men. This timing means an extra income or extra food, plus the possibility
of combining paid work with domestic work and child care.
IT IS CONSIDERED SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE:
In all the projects which were implemented through the Department of Agrarian
Services, only members of the Farmers' Organization and paddy owners were
allowed to take part. It was foreseen that this restriction excluded the
poorest families in the villages (families without any paddy land) and
a possibility for temporary membership was created which enabled everyone
to participate. The unintended but positive side-effect of this was a great
increase in female participation. Women now account for 30-40 per cent
of the members of the Farmer Organisation. Nonetheless, one should not
overestimate this positive side-effect either, for temporary members do
not have the same rights as permanent members.
The final distribution of money or food is vulnerable to corruption.
Work requiring equipment or concrete is allocated to contractors. This
is also vulnerable to corruption as those in charge allocate the work to
themselves or to friends (doing only part of the works they are supposed
to) rather than to the contractors who can deliver the best quality.
There is a chance that older people are excluded from participation. It
is argued that they can work less.
POTENTIAL FOR REPLICATION
The practice is a successful adaptation of a traditional method.
It is sustainable, functioning quite effectively for regular maintenance
and for repair work.
The practice is supported by farmers, the Farmer Organization, the Divisional
Officer, and the staff of the projects.
The practice can be replicated quite easily with minor adaptations.
Several factors should be kept in mind, however:
In Sri Lanka the pangu method is practised widely in the Anuradhapura
District. It is not yet clear how widespread the practice is elsewhere.
Landowners might resist the idea of allowing other members of the community
to participate as well.
The office bearers of the Farmer Organization, or the local Samurdhi officers
/ committees are in the position to manipulate the system if they want
to, e.g. by inviting only a particular group of people for the initial
meetings during which the project activities are explained, and procedures
for participation are explained, or by refusing participation by particular
groups of people.
The method is more effective if the work on the irrigation system takes
place during periods of farming inactivity. Otherwise people have conflicting
demands on their time and energy.
The reward should be interesting enough. If it is too low people will choose
to work elsewhere.
The part of the project involving repairs occupied 1995 and 1996. The
work of maintenance continues.
Information on this practice came from Irna van der Molen, who conducted
research on the subject in 1995 and 1996. E-mail: P.firstname.lastname@example.org
Her promotor is: Prof. E.W. Hommes, and her direct supervisor is: Dr.
N.G. Schulte Nordholt, both from the Technology and Development Group,
Faculty of Technology and Management, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217,
7500 AE Enschede, the Netherlands. Supervision is further provided by Dr.
M. McCall, ITC, P.O. Box 6, 7500 AA, Enschede, the Netherlands, and by
Dr. R. Ulluwishewa, Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, University
of Brunei Darussalam, Bandar Seri Begawan 2028, Negara Brunei Darussalam.
Irna van der Molen (provider of this information)
University of Twente - School of Management Studies - Technology and
Development Group; P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
List of local contacpersons:
Agrarian Service Centre Yakalla
Mrs. Shaanthi Kumari Jayewardene
(responsible also for Padikaramaduwa, in office since April 1998),
International Water Management Institute
Mr. Ian Makin / Mr. Senaka Arachchi / Mr. Somaratne / Mr. Jinapale
P.O. Box 2075
(all were involved in SCOR project in Padikaramaduwa)
Mr. Anando Karunasiri
Former Divisional Officer
Agrarian Service Centre Eppawala
(transfered, but no information as where to)
Agrarian Service Centre Eppawala
Mr. E.G. Semaratne
Department of Agriculture
Mr. Gunadase Wickramarachi
Agrarian Service Centre Ipolagama
telephone (at bank close to office): 94-25-64279
For Wellamudawa and Punchikuluma:
Mr. Sarath Perera
Agrarian Service Centre Thirappanee
For Walpola and Kulikkada:
Mr. Premaratne Abeysinghe
Agrarian Service Centre Medawachchiya
telephone (res.): 94-25-66689
Mr. Anuradha Amaratunghe
Government Agent Medawachchiya
AGA's Office (Divisional Secretariat)
For the projects of FFHCB:
Sri Lanka national programme of the Freedom From Hunger Campaign Board
(technical assistant at time of the project implementation: Mr. Gamini)
Freedom from Hunger Campaign Board
Chairman Freedom from Hunger Campaign Board
17 Malaksekera Mawatha
For information about the WFP:
Mr. Weerakkody or: Mr. Mahir
Regional Department of Agrarian Services
For information about projects by the Irrigation Department:
Deputy Director's Office
Mr. M.A.G.S. Wijayawardhana
Irrigation Engineer's Office
telephone: 94-25-22587 / 94-25-22499
Irrigation Engineer's Office
Provincial Irrigation Department
Agrarian Service District Office, Godage Mawatha
World Food Programme
Freedom From Hunger Campaign Board
Agrarian Service Department