Determinants of collective action among farmers in Dzindi Communal Irrigation Scheme, Limpopo Province, South Africa
Letsoalo, Sebatana Simon
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The main objective of the study was to analyse the determinants of collective action among farmers in Dzindi communal irrigation scheme, Limpopo Province, South Africa. The specific objectives were to describe the socio-economic profiles, assess livelihood strategies pursued, determine participation in collective action activities, analyse the determinants of participation in collective action activities, examine perceptions of the effect of collective action on livelihood capital, ascertain knowledge about collective action processes and determine the dimensions of collectivism and individualism among farmers involved in the irrigation scheme. The study was conducted in Dzindi irrigation scheme. The population of this study included all 106 plot holders in Dzindi, smallholder irrigation scheme. Simple random sampling techniques were used to select 97 plot holders. Data for this study was generated from primary source based on the objective of the study. A structured questionnaire consisting of five sections namely, personal characteristics and socio-economic factors of irrigators, offences and conflict resolution in sharing irrigation water in the irrigation scheme, collective action activities, scale on individualism vs collectivism, livelihood strategies among the irrigators, perception of the effect of collective action on livelihood capital and irrigators' knowledge of collective action processes. The questionnaire was face validated by a panel of experts on agricultural extension, collective action and research and a split half technique was used to determine the reliability coefficient. Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) 18. 0. Standard deviation, mean and frequency distribution were used to · describe the personal characteristics; multiple regression analysis was used to determine the effect of predictors on the dependent variables of the study. The results revealed that majority of the farmers were male, more than 50 years, having at least 20 years of farming experience, and being Christians, having ownership of plots with large household sizes with more female per household than male. Maize, lentils and Kale are the most prominent crops on the irrigation scheme. Majority of the farmers were allocated land on the irrigation scheme on first come, first served basis, used flood irrigation systems, practised double, multiple, and multiple cropping system and had contact with extension officers. The prominent sources of information were television, radio, and extension officers. There is generally a low participation in social organisations listed by farmers. Most common offences and conflict resolution techniques were: caught breaking irrigation rules, apologise immediately when found caught committing an offence, use more days to irrigate and use more irrigation water. The results revealed that only three out of a list of 25 collective action activities were commonly practised. These were replacement of damaged concrete slabs, Weed control in joints and participation in meetings. The results show that from the list of 44 statements on the individualism scale, 35 statements were above the actual mean score of 3.0. Conversely, 21 of the 35 listed statements on collectivism were above the actual mean of 3. 0 which depicts a high tendency towards collective actions. Overall, the tendency among irrigators for individualism is higher than collectivism on the irrigation scheme. The results on the perception of the effect of collective action on livelihood capital among irrigators in the Dzindi scheme revealed an overwhelming general negative attitude by farmers towards the effect of collective action on livelihood capital. The results revealed an overwhelming general negative behaviour by farmers towards collective action The results further revealed ah overwhelming high knowledge by farmers on collective action processes. Significant determinants of participation in collective action processes were perceived effect on natural capital ( t = 3. 36, p < 0. 05), Perceived effect on social capital ( t = 2.33, p < 0.05), Perceived usefulness of collective action ( t = 2.40, p < 0.05), perceived ease of use of,collective action ( t = 2.07, p < 0.05), knowledge of collective action ( t = 1.96, p < 0.05), age ( t = -3.99, p < 0.05), farming experience ( t = 2.08, p < 0.05), educational/eve/ ( t = 2.06, p < 0.05), religious belief ( t = 3.45, p < 0.05), land ownership ( t = 1.81, p < 0.10) and distance to market ( t = 3.83, p < 0.05). Based on the findings of this study, it is recommended that there is a need to improve on the mechanisms that will reduce the tendency among irrigators for individualism which was higher than collectivism; perception of the effect of collective action on livelihood capital among irrigators in the Dzindi scheme, mechanism to reduce the overwhelming general negative behaviour by farmers towards collective action and to translate their high knowledge on collective action processes into actions.