Together Strong or Falling Apart?:Coping with COVID-19 in Smallholder Irrigated Agriculture

Chitata, Tavengwa and Kemerink-Seyoum, Jeltsje Sanne and Cleaver, Frances Dalton (2023) Together Strong or Falling Apart?:Coping with COVID-19 in Smallholder Irrigated Agriculture. International Journal of the Commons, 17 (1). pp. 87-104. ISSN 1875-0281

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Coping, surviving and living with different kinds of crisis is a recurrent challenge to those governing groundwater as a common resource. In this paper, we mobilise ideas about the functioning of the state and of processes of bricolage to explain the functioning of institutions governing groundwater during the Covid-19 pandemic. Drawing on empirical material from one irrigation scheme in Zimbabwe we argue that such institutions show signs both of transformation and degeneration over the course of the Covid-19 crisis. Our analysis shows the emergence of temporary and innovative ways of collectively organising around groundwater which ensure improved access to water during the pandemic. Such new ways of doing things draw on different sources of authority and legitimacy in shaping governance arrangements. However, as the pandemic situation becomes the ‘new normal’, collective arrangements degenerate into a pre-Covid-19 state, or worse, further restricting access and representation for some people.

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Journal Article
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International Journal of the Commons
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09 Mar 2023 15:05
Last Modified:
03 Apr 2023 01:00