Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



This paper seeks to advance a group credit model for providing financial assistance to Acequia (Ditch) Association members in New Mexico. Community irrigation systems have existed in New Mexico for over four hundred years. Today over 800 legally recognized Community Acequia Associations exist in New Mexico. Their members, predominantly Hispanic, have small-scale landholdings averaging from three to ten acres and own over 160,800 acres of New Mexico's surface irrigated farmland. Though this agricultural resource base is extensive, these small-scale farmers have not received an equitable portion of assistance offered to enhance agricultural production. Group Credit has been used by National Development Foundations in the Caribbean and in Latin America to provide financial assistance to the rural poor in order to enable them to undertake income producing projects. The group credit mechanism is proposed as an appropriate means to 'promote' agricultural production on New Mexico's traditional small-scale acequia irrigated landholdings. Additionally, a process is suggested to establish a New Mexican Rural Credit Foundation which would provide group credit to New Mexican Community Acequia Association members.


Working Paper Series 104


Southwest Hispanic Research Institute


SW Hispanic Research Institute