Factors associated with the revitalisation of smallholder irrigation schemes among farmers in the North West Province, South Africa
Botlhoko, Gaone Joan
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This research analyses factors associated with the revitalisation of smallholder irrigation schemes in the North West Province. The study was conducted in the North West province. The North West province has four district municipalities, namely; Bojanala, Ngaka Modiri Molema, Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Dr Ruth Mompati. The research design used in this study was descriptive and quantitative. The population of the study consisted of farmers within Tsholofelo, Molatedi, Taung, Brits, Mayayane, Dinokana and Disaneng irrigation schemes of the North West province of South Africa. A stratified sampling technique was used with each irrigation scheme as a stratum and irrigators randomly selected from each of the schemes. The total sample size was 120. Data was collected through a structured questionnaire developed based on the objectives of the study, which was face validated with a reliability coefficient of 0.85. The data was sorted and analysed through the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 18.0. Descriptive statistics such as standard deviation, mean, frequency distribution were used to describe the personal characteristics of respondents. Multiple regression analysis was used to determine the effect of predictors on dependent variable of the study. The results revealed that the majority of farmers were male (60%) and 70% were more than 40 years while 56% had between 1 to 10 years farming experience. About 63% of the farmers were married and 62% had formal education. About 96% of the farmers were Christians and at least 70% had between 1 to 3 males and females per household. About 98% and 96% had between 1 to 3 adults and children per household. About 74% of farmers had 1 to 5 dependants. The predominant type of land tenure among farmers was communal land ownership (51.6%) with 85% having no farm insurance. Only 59% of the farmers employed other people to work on their plots. At least 50% of the farmers indicated that the irrigation schemes was not functional before and after Irrigation Management Transfer (IMT). In terms of farmers contact with extension services, 59.2% had contact with extension officers and 58% had regularly contact with the prominent extension agency (the government). About 60% of respondents considered that government provides subsidy to irrigation schemes. The results revealed that Farm size(x̅= 4.66, SD = 5.11); Distance to farm (x̅= 12.75, SD = 4.7); Annual income(x̅= 13616.66, SD = 4847); Contract production period (x̅= 0.84,SD Production factors for performance/collapse of SIS in NWP revealed that at least 90% of farmers are constrained by the following factors: Low level of technical knowledge (91.7%), Impact of drought (95%), Pest and diseases (93.3%), Lack of production capital (95.9%) and Lack of mechanisation services (91.7%). Prominent factors among farmers in terms of financial factors of SIS in NWP include lack of access to credit (97.5%), High electricity costs (91.6%), High interest rates on production loans (91.6%) and Lack of subsidised input supply (94.2%). The indicators with the highest proportion in terms of farmers marketing factors are No access to market (95%), Lack of processing plants for products from the scheme (92.5%) and Lack of linkages with Agribusinesses (93.3%). Indicators with the highest distribution of farmers in terms of extension services are Low access to information and modern technology (86.6%), Inability to take advantage of modern technology (95%), Poor extension services (90.8%) and Lack of technical knowhow by extension workers (90.9%). Institutional/organisational factors for performance/collapse of SIS in NWP revealed that at least 90% of farmers are constrained by the following factors: Impact of internal and external politics on participants (92.5%), Poor operational environment (93.4%) and Lack of farmer organisation (93.3%). Skills factors for performance/collapse of SIS in NWP shows that at least 80% of farmers are constrained by the following factors: lack of financial management skills (90%), Lack of leadership skills (88.4%) and Lack of farming entrepreneurial skills (89.1%). The implication of the findings is that the factors identified under each group should be addressed in order to revitalise SIS in NWP. Significant determinants of factors associated with revitalisation are Gender (t = 2.789, p < 0.01), Education (t = 3.135, p < 0.01), Number of males/ household (t = 4.258, p < 0.01), Number of dependents (t =-1.849 , p < 0.10), Farming experience (t = 1.850, p < 0.10), Employee on farm (t = 2.401, p < 0.05), Functionality of Scheme before IMT (t = -2.060, p < 0.05), Functionality of Scheme after IMT (t =1.664 , p < 0.10) and Distance to farm (t = 4.345, p < 0.01).