Continuing Education Programs for Irrigation Engineers in Developing Countries: A Pressing Need

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by L. Humberto Yap-Salinas, Director; International Irrigation Center; Research Professor, Department of Biological and Irrigation Engineering, Utah State University, Logan, Utah 84322-4105,,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: World Environmental and Water Resource Congress 2006: Examining the Confluence of Environmental and Water Concerns

Abstract: The field of irrigation, both as an area of work and as an area in which to seek a degree, has undergone great changes in the U.S. Great advances have taken place in the technology of irrigation, enabling greater crop production with greater efficiency of water use. However, at the same time, farming in the U.S. has become increasingly the domain of large agribusinesses, and fewer young Americans are seeking careers in agriculture and irrigation. Universities have experienced decreasing enrollment in their irrigation and drainage programs. Overseas, particularly in developing countries, the situation is quite different. For many developing countries, irrigation has been a key factor in their development and is becoming even more crucial as globalization, with its need for rapid response to market demands, has taken place. Irrigation engineers are very much needed in developing countries, and they need to be up-to-date on the latest and most feasible technological tools. However, few irrigation engineers in these countries have either the opportunity or the means after they graduate for continuing their education through conferences and seminars, and journals. Thus while young graduates are aware of innovations, more mature engineers, who are further along in their careers and often occupying important positions in ministries of water or agriculture, are often not. This situation has a variety of consequences not only for the agricultural sectors of developing countries, but also for the overall development of those countries, due to the economic importance of irrigation,. This paper explores these consequences and discusses ways to provide continuing education opportunities for irrigation engineers in developing countries.

Subject Headings: Irrigation | Developing countries | Education | Professional development | Irrigation water | Drainage | Crops |

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