'n Evaluering van die effektiwiteit van die Schoonspruitbesproeiingskema
De Villiers, Jean Pierre
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Sixty percent of the water in South Africa is used for irrigation purposes. The Agricultural sector contributes a mere 4,5% to the GDP, of which 25% to 30% comes from irrigation farming while this sector only employs about 1,2% of the workforce of the country (SA, 2002:9). The effectiveness of the use of water by this sector thus warrants a closer look. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the farmers of the Schoonspruit irrigation scheme utilize this very scarce commodity optimally or not. Before this study there was no information on the effectiveness of the utilization of water on the scheme. For the purpose of this study the total Schoonspruit irrigation scheme was defined as the study area. To determine the effectiveness of the utilization of water for the Schoonspruit irrigation scheme the average profit per hectare as reached by the individual farmers of this scheme was compared to the amount of water used for irrigation. The average income of the farmers was determined by means of random sample technique. From this sample it was determined that the income is on average R2674.61 nper hectare. Sixty nine comma four four percent (69,44%) of the respondents' average income lie below the average. It is also obvious from this study that it is those farmers who do not employ scientific farming methods who do not make the grade. Another important contributing factor to lower profits per hectare is the ineffectiveness of the management of the water of the Schoonspruit irrigation scheme. Large amounts of water are lost as a result of blockages in the canal. These losses are the cause that farmers in the lower reaches of the canal do not receive all the water that is due to them. It was determined that farmers who do not irrigate as effectively be encouraged to pay attention to the following factors in order to improve the effectiveness of water utilization. 1. They should be aware of the water holding capacity of the soil. 2. They should get to know the characteristics of the soil. 3. The farmers should keep records of rainfall in order to adapt the irrigation schedule accordingly. 4. They should make use of production targets to determine the amount of fertilizer to be used. 5. They should be aware of the amount of moisture necessary for a specific crop, determine the amount of moisture present in the soil at a given time and then adapt the irrigation schedule accordingly.