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Appropriate entrepreneurial development paths for homestead food gardening and smallholder irrigation crop farming in Kwazulu-Natal Province
Expanded Title:Irrigation infrastructure remains underdeveloped in the study areas, making it difficult for the producers to grow the high-value crops which usually have high water demands. High cost of electricity and the condition of water-related infrastructure is threatening water security. In areas such as Bululwane Irrigation Scheme, there were many community food gardens that were no longer functioning because of physical water scarcity. Asymmetry regarding government’s support to the Makhathini and Ndumo-B irrigation schemes was observed. Farmers in Makhathini irrigation scheme enjoy government support in the form of a subsidy that reduces their cost of accessing water and yet the same cannot be said about farmers from Ndumo-B Irrigation Scheme. The range of crops that farmers grow is widely diversified but cabbage, green maize and beans are the most important. There is market for cabbages even locally although farmers could earn more if they can sell in high value markets. Farmers struggle to access markets that will provide them with favourable prices for their produce and others sometimes don’t even have a market to sell to, which often leads to post-harvest losses. Hawkers/van traders play an important role in the marketing of produce from the four irrigation schemes. However, this comes at a cost to farmers with lower farm gate prices. Farmer participation in markets is through supply of raw products only as they do not process or add value to any produce. For homestead and community food gardeners, farming is a source of food and to a lesser extent income. For scheme and independent irrigators, farming is more of an income generating activity, the major income earner in the household. There are a few opportunities for earning off-farm income through temporary employment (mostly in the schemes) and salaried jobs. According to the survey results from Bululwane and Tugela Ferry irrigation scheme, most of the farmers would rather be engaged in other forms of income sources rather than farming if they had the opportunity to do so. Owing to their poverty, most farmers tend to make short-term survival maximizing decisions. Expansion of farming activities (e.g. introducing high value crops and double cropping) is a preferred roadmap by most smallholder farmers, particularly scheme and independent irrigators. Relatively few homestead food gardeners and more so community food gardeners are sceptical about further expansion. However, these could be individuals who follow a “wait-and-see” strategy and never show interest in something the first time they are told about it or they might be those farmers who believe they cannot cope up with the demands of collective management of irrigation schemes. The results from Tugela Ferry and Bululwane irrigation schemes suggest that farmers inside the irrigation schemes are more willing to expand their farming operations compared to those that are out of the schemes. Those farmers in the schemes see more potential as they have better access to water and productive land. Age was more important than gender in determining their willingness to expand farming operations, i.e. farmers that are not yet receiving pension grant are more willing to expand their farming operations.
Date Published:01/05/2018
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Agricultural Water - Small holder irrigation
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:2278/1/18
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0970-5
Authors:Zegeye EW; Chipfupa U
Project No:K5/2278
Organizations:University of KwaZuIu-Natal
Document Size:9 802 KB
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