Expansion of irrigated agriculture is central to efforts to enhance food security, reduce rural poverty, and increase resilience to climate change across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). A broad variety of irrigation system typologies currently exist in SSA, ranging from ‘formal’ publicly-financed surface water irrigation systems served by engineered infrastructure (e.g. dams and canals) to ‘informal’ farmer-led irrigation systems that receive little official support or recognition (e.g. private groundwater pumping and small-scale river diversions). In this presentation, Roshan summarizes findings from a study, jointly conducted by University of Manchester, WASCAL, and CSIR, that seeks to understand the comparative performance of alternative existing approaches to irrigation development. Using Northern Ghana as a case study, the study explores how alternative bio-physical, socio-economic, and institutional characteristics of irrigation developments influence welfare outcomes for smallholders. Our findings highlight the need for broadening public support for irrigators outside the government managed irrigation schemes, who are often neglected in official irrigation development narratives.