Asian Irrigation Forum

Event | 11 - 13 April 2012 Manila, Philippines

Irrigated agriculture has been the backbone of rural development in Asia. About 70% of the world's irrigated area is in Asia. The Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture, released by the International Water Management Institute in 2007, noted that "the challenge for irrigated agriculture in this century is to improve equity, reduce environmental damage, increase ecosystem services, and enhance water and land productivity in existing and new irrigated systems."

With a global population of 7 billion, Asian irrigation is now at a crossroads. Increasing populations, changing diets, growing cities, and expanding energy and industrial production each demands a greater share of available water resources. With increasing concerns about water scarcity and food security, agriculture as the largest user of water must find ways to increase the productivity of irrigation to produce the food, fiber and fuel needed by the growing population. Improving the productivity of irrigated agriculture is expected to be the foundation for securing affordable food for the population of Asia-Pacific.

ADB's Water Financing Program aims to assist Asian countries in providing more productive and efficient irrigation and drainage services to over 40 million farmers by 2020. ADB has financed more than 200 irrigation projects, with investments totaling US$6.6 billion, and has some US$1.1 billion of irrigation projects pipelined. In line with its Water Operational Plan, ADB is organizing the Asian Irrigation Forum to review the region's performance in irrigation and irrigated agriculture, explore the future of irrigation and drainage in rural development, and identify needs and opportunities for strengthened partnerships to deliver more productive irrigation services throughout the region.


  • Review history, current performance, and future trends in irrigated agriculture in the Asia and Pacific region
  • Identify the investment needs to support the transformation of irrigated agriculture to meet future challenges with appropriate solutions to the water-food-energy nexus over the next 10 years


ADB is inviting leading irrigation and drainage policy makers, practitioners, R&D professionals, leaders of government and private sector irrigation and drainage service providers, representatives of farmer organizations and agri-business, and agricultural supply chain entities to lead discussions on key irrigation and drainage issues for the coming 20 years.

Among the invited speakers are:

  • Dr. Prabhu Pingali, Deputy Director of Agricultural Development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Dr. Gao Zhanyi, President, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage
  • Dr. Chris Perry, Visiting Professor, Economics of Irrigation, Cranfield University, UK
  • Dr. Mark Rosegrant, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, D.C.
  • Dr. P. Soman, Senior Vice President, Jain, India


An exhibition showcasing emerging irrigation technologies, services and management innovations will be held in parallel to the main forum sessions. Providers of irrigation technology, advanced land management systems, and consultants are invited to join the Asian Irrigation Forum, participate in the Forum discussions and serve as resource persons, and meet with representatives of irrigation organizations from across the region, and project development staff from ADB and other development agencies.


The Forum is being organized by the Asian Development Bank.


The following are invited to register their interest to participate:

  • Irrigation, water resources, and finance experts from ADB's developing member countries
  • Representatives of farmer organizations and agro-business organizations
  • Academics and researchers from universities and research institutions
  • Agricultural and rural development finance providers
  • ADB staff responsible for development of irrigation and water resources projects
  • Media representatives and members of civil society organizations

Registration is free. Online registration of self-funded participants will remain open until 31 March 2012. Acceptance and processing of registration will immediately follow the closing date.

Participation will be limited to a maximum of 250 persons. ADB will confirm participation by email latest by 6 April 2012. A limited number of representatives of government agencies in ADB developing member countries will be provided sponsored participation; sponsorships will be confirmed by 19 March 2012.

Forum Mechanics

Participants will be provided background briefing papers for each topic (3-4 pages max) before the Forum. Forum sessions will include short summary presentations of the key discussion points from the briefing papers. Each session will include time for questions and discussion with the speakers, panel members and other participants. Table discussions and parallel breakout groups will be used for more detailed discussions and brainstorming on topics selected by the participants.


The workshop outcomes will include recommendations on how to revitalize Asia's public and private sector program in irrigation and other rural infrastructure investments, including the identification of sub-regional differences and requirements.


  • All background briefing papers and a summary of panel discussions will be published in the ADB web page and will be available on CD
  • Media interviews and news releases for broadcast and print media

Study visit

A whole-day study visit has been organized on Tuesday, 10 April, before the official start of the AIF. Upon registration, please indicate if you would like to join. The study visit will cover (i) technical presentations and discussion on IRRI's water management activities, and researches on submergence tolerant rice, long-term continuous cropping, dry seeded rice, and irrigation scheduling for wet seeded rice; and (ii) visit to field experiments. Departure time from ADBHQ is at 07:00 a.m.. Duration of the study visit is from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Meals, inclusive of morning and afternoon snacks, and lunch, will be provided.