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University of Fort Hare (2014)

Effect of irrigation farming potential on commercialization of smallholder farming in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa

Nomava Sipoko

Titre : Effect of irrigation farming potential on commercialization of smallholder farming in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa

Auteur : Nomava Sipoko

Université de soutenance : University of Fort Hare

Grade : M.Sc (Agricultural Economics) 2014

Enhancement of smallholder production to improve rural livelihood is an important policy goal in developing countries. Research findings indicate that smallholder production can be improved through establishment of new smallholder irrigation schemes, and the rehabilitation of abandoned ones. Smallholder irrigation has a potential to contribute significantly in shifting smallholder farming to commercial farming. Although the roles of irrigating farmers are clearly defined, smallholder farmer’s development results in South Africa have been disappointing. The performance of smallholder irrigation is unsatisfactory. Smallholder irrigation has failed to improve the standard of living and livelihoods of smallholder farmers in South Africa. The majority of farmers are still producing at subsistence level. This study, therefore, aimed to contribute to smallholder irrigation literature in two ways ; firstly by evaluating the extent of irrigation participation of smallholder farmers towards commercialization in the study areas. The study also examined the determinants of irrigation participation among smallholder farmers. A sample of 80 households was drawn by random sampling of smallholders in four villages as follows : 40 respondents from Mgxabakazi and Dinizulu villages and 40 respondents from Ncorha flats and Tshatshu. The sample included both irrigators and non-irrigators. Descriptive analysis shows that irrigators had better production and wellbeing than non-irrigators. For the inferential analysis of the data, two models were employed namely, Binary Logistic Regression Model (BRM) and Truncated Regression Model (TRM). The Binary Regression model was used to predict the probability of farmers participating in irrigation schemes. Whether or not a farmer participated in irrigation was introduced as the binary dependent or response variable that could be explained by a range of explanatory or predictor variables such as source of water, land size, ability to sustain business, membership in the scheme, market access, availability of the irrigation system, willingness to irrigate, farming type commercial or subsistence and institutional support services. From these predictor variables, being part of the irrigation, ability to sustain business and market were found to be factors influencing farmer’s decision to participate. The second model required the in-depth investigation of the influence of irrigation participation as reflected by extent of commercialization. In order to do this, the level of commercialization was measured by calculating Household Commercialization Index. Then the truncated regression model (TR) was used to test the factors that affect the level of commercialization for the farmers who are participating in the irrigation schemes.Age, irrigated land, willingness to commercialize and gross value of production were found to exert strong influence on the level of commercialization among farmers participating in irrigation. The study recommends that investments in smallholder irrigation should receive high priority, with emphasis on collective action, promotion of contract farming and strengthening the support services from government and the private sector, and ensuring enhanced access to market to all farmers.

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Page publiée le 23 janvier 2016, mise à jour le 12 juillet 2017