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TitleEvaluation of the socio-economic performance of smallholder irrigation schemes in Idutywa Village of the Eastern Cape Province
AuthorJiba, Phiwe
SubjectIrrigation farming -- Economic aspects
SubjectFarms, Small -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape
SubjectAgricultural development projects -- South Africa -- Eastern Cape
Format92 leaves
AbstractSouth Africa and other African countries are faced with high levels of food insecurity and poverty levels as a result of slow growth of the macro economy and weak or sluggish rural development. Irrigation scheme development is seen as an important strategy to address the challenges faced by households in rural areas and restores growth and enhanced livelihoods. While the international experience shows that Irrigation schemes are potentially transformative of poor communities and have been operational for many years now, there is no marked improvement in living conditions of rural households in terms of livelihoods and income. This raises the question as to whether or not the schemes are viable from a socio-economic perspective and whether or not there are reasons for concern and revision of the policy framework for smallholder irrigation schemes. As a result of that, the broad objective of the study was to evaluate the contribution of smallholder irrigation schemes to household income and food security of rural households in Idutywa village of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. Specifically, this research investigated the major factors that influence their performance, impact of irrigation farming on rural livelihood and household food security as well as identifying the possible opportunities of production that would improve their performance. The study was carried out in Idutywa villages of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa and employed survey data obtained from 107 households. The study employed a cross-sectional research design and the study employed stratified random sampling. The study made use of descriptive and inferential statistics to estimate the central tendency and dispersion as well as testing the hypothesis that there is a difference in the contribution between irrigators and non-irrigators using STATA and SPSS. Probit regression model was used to estimate factors that influenced the performance of smallholder irrigation schemes. The descriptive statistics employed included means, percentages and frequencies on the socio-economic characteristics of households in the study areas. The results show that females were dominant with a representation of 66.7 percent. The majority of households were aged and the mean age was 65 years. High level of illiteracy in the project area was revealed by the data. The average number of years, households spent in school was between 6 years to 10 years in school. Farming was found to be the major agricultural economic activity. Sixty-three (63 percent) were full time farmers. The results further show that household size ranges between 1 to 5 persons. The households were shown to be mostly dependent on social grant with household income hovering around R 1 000. The results from propensity score matching revealed that irrigation exerts a positive impact on household income. This provides sufficient evidence that irrigation schemes do make a contribution to rural livelihoods through their effect on household income and food security. This implies that government should continue investing in irrigation schemes as part of a strategy to grow the rural economy and improve rural livelihoods. This is in line with the Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP) and National Development Plan (NDP) of South Africa. Probit analysis suggests that age of the households, household size and market were some of the key determinants that positively influenced households’ decision to participate in smallholder irrigation schemes while access to credit had significant but negative effect on households’ decision to participate in smallholder irrigation schemes. Based on the findings highlighted above, it is recommended that addressing such barriers may create enabling conditions that would encourage households to access and participate more effectively in smallholder irrigation schemes.
PublisherUniversity of Fort Hare
PublisherFaculty of Science & Agriculture