The performance of small scale irrigation technologies such as Californian (PVC pipe layout) and drip irrigation systems with the traditional bucket method is compared in six Sub-Saharan African countries. The results of field trials conducted on farmer fields reveal that water and economic productivities of Californian and drip systems were two to three times higher than the bucket method. However, smallholder farmers preferred Californian irrigation system over drip system due to its low installation and operation and maintenance costs. The average installation cost of drip system was US$ 2000-4000 per ha compared to US$ 600-1000 per ha for the Californian system. However, despite these advantages, adoption of these irrigation technologies remain a challenge for resource poor farmers. This study suggests policy level changes to facilitate farmers financially and technically for the adoption of these technologies to increase their agricultural productivity and farm incomes. To cut down the costs, local manufacturing of equipment through active participation of private sector and introduction of solar driven and wind driven pumps at affordable prices could be a step in the right direction. Farmers’ training on improving water use efficiency and maintenance of these systems is also found to be crucial to increase agricultural production, increase incomes and reduce rural poverty.