Determinants of livelihood strategies among smallholder farmers on irrigation schemes in the North-West Province, South Africa
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The study assessed determinants of livelihood strategies among smallholder farmers involved on irrigation schemes in the North West Province of South Africa. The study was conducted in three districts of the North West Province namely: Dr Ngaka Modiri Molema District, Bojanala District and Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 149 farmers involved in all the irrigation schemes of the North West province and those practising irrigation farming adjacent to the schemes. The data was entered into Microsoft Excel and later transferred to the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) for analysis. Frequency counts, percentages, mean standard deviation, Multinomial Logit and Probit regressions were used to analyse the data. The results of the study revealed that the majority of respondents were females and aged above 50 years, married, Christians. Their highest level of education is primary school. The irrigation land is owned by the Chief and farmers are therefore unable to use the land that they farm on as a colateral to access production loans from commercial banks. Farmers highly rely on government grants in order to produce on their land. Majority of the farmers lease out their lands in order to have household monthly income, while others participate to other non-farm activities such as working in the mines or run own business. Although farmers participate in other non-farm activities, agriculture (42.3%) is the most preferred livelihood option amongst the respondents followed by non-farm activities (36.9%) or combination of agriculture and non-farm strategies (20.8%). The Multinomial Logit regression was used to determine choice of livelihood among farmers. Significant variables for the choice of agriculture as a livelihood startegy from agriculture, non-farm and a combination of agriculture and non-farm livelihood strategies significant variables were age, farm size, financial index, extension contact and gender. Significant variables for the choice of agriculture as a livelihood startegy from non-farm and agriculture using probit regression were age (Z=2.814), social index (Z=2.004) and extension contact (Z=-3.056). Significant variables for the choice of non-farm as a livelihood strategy from agriculture and non-farm using probit regression were age (Z=4.679), input (Z=-2.747), total income (Z=-5.113), expenditure (Z= -2.116) and education (Z=-1.883). Ten variables were insignificant.