Problems faced by small-scale farmers in Taung irrigation Scheme in the North West Province, South Africa
Acha, Gabriel Ekobi
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The main objective of this study was to investigate the challenges facing Small scale farmers in Taung Irrigation Scheme. Furthermore, the study investigated how these challenges affected Small scale farmer's livelihoods and food security in the area. Irrigation farming has been identified as the backbone of rural development in the world in general and South Africa in particular. Irrigated agriculture is seen as an important mechanism for creating jobs, poverty reduction and most particularly, to improve livelihoods and food security. In order to achieve the above objective, the study used both quantitative and qualitative research methods in gathering data from the main specific objective formulated which was to identify the factors hindering the effectiveness of Small scale farmers working on Taung Irrigation Scheme. The result of the study shows that Small scale farmers are plagued with major challenges on the scheme which has hindered food security and livelihoods in Taung. These challenges include the following; lack of market, institutional structure (organization and management), lack of capital, water pricing, lack of transport and theft of crops. Other challenges raised are the high presence of European contracts farmers on the scheme, low level of education among extension officers, lack of ownership of land by Small scale farmers and lack of proper sanitation (clean water, sewerage and toilets) to farm houses. The study concludes by recommending that the establishment of cooperative will enable Small scale farmers to have access to market and capital. This will also enable them to have powers to influence the decision making process of the scheme to solve the problem of institutional structure. Furthermore, it was recommended that a well-fenced project on the scheme and a self-managed and sustainable security system supported by the government (Department of Agriculture) and other stakeholders would minimize theft of crops on the scheme.