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University of Nairobi (2015)

Factors influencing crop production in irrigation schemes in the arid and semi arid lands of Kenya : the case of Hola irrigation scheme, Tana river county, Kenya

Mugera, Winnie N

Titre : Factors influencing crop production in irrigation schemes in the arid and semi arid lands of Kenya : the case of Hola irrigation scheme, Tana river county, Kenya

Auteur : Mugera, Winnie N

Université de soutenance : University of Nairobi

Grade : Master of Arts (MA) 2015

Résumé
The Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of the world make up over 40% of the earth’s surface and are however home to the world’s poorest and most marginalized people. In Kenya, the ASALs occupy over 80% of the country areas and have the lowest development indicators and the highest incidence of poverty. The ASALs sit on vast idle virgin lands as their potential is untapped. In the attempt to address this problem, one of the suggested solutions has been to introduce irrigated agriculture in these areas. The Kenyan Government has set aside resources into installation of irrigation infrastructure in ASALs in the effort to address food insecurity and eradicate poverty. This intervention is however not yielding bounties as anticipated. This study therefore sought to understand the factors influencing crop production in irrigation schemes in the ASALs of Kenya focusing on costs of crop production, culture of the community, availability of labour and agricultural support services. The study covered HIS in Tana River County located in an ASAL region. Descriptive and quantitative research designs were used for this study on a target population of 1040 members of Hola Irrigation Scheme (HIS). A sample of 121 members was selected. Questionnaires were used as data collection tools. Upon approval of the proposal, a research permit was acquired and consequently, the data collection process was conducted within a period two months. The findings indicated that majority of the participants ranged between the age of 40 and above and there were low education levels in the community. The average number of acres cropped per farmer per season was two (2) acres with an average of two cropping seasons. The most cropped produce was maize (seed maize) which was produced under contractual arrangements with Kenya Seed Company at a buying price Kshs. 68 per kg. The costs of inputs were high with the costs of pesticides and fertilizer being the highest. The average gross margins per acre per year were calculated to be kshs. 109,980.00.. The study on influence of the culture of the community living in Hola Irrigation Scheme established that, 98 (85%) practiced pastoralism prior to irrigated agriculture, a clear indication that the community had minimal experience as far as farming was concerned. Moreover, the farmers were not able to provide enough labour for their farms to operate the scheme successfully based on the labour requirements for the scheme. The study on the availability of agricultural support services in Hola Irrigation Scheme, established that the farmer trainings were not adequate. Further, the credit facilities were already available according to the survey conducted but were very limited. This therefore contributed to the low gross margins in Hola Irrigation Scheme. It was concluded that women in the ASALS had remained behind the scenes as far decision making was concerned but participated actively in the irrigation farming activities which had resulted in them being over-burdened, low education levels for majority of the respondents were interpreted to be a major challenge that affected the decision making in farming processes, the high costs of production reduced the farmers’ gross margins, the labour within the scheme was insufficient for all the irrigation activities and the project area lacked an agriculture training facility to support the project through training. All these factors influenced crop production in irrigation schemes as the gross margins for the farmers were greatly reduced. The attitude of the community living in HIS towards farming was positive and therefore did not contribute to the low yields from their farms. The study thereafter recommended further studies to be carried out on the support to agricultural production and establishment of market linkages through value chain approach, Feasibility Studies on establishment of high value crops and integration of pastoralism into the irrigation schemes for the ASALs of Kenya

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Page publiée le 13 mars 2016, mise à jour le 19 mars 2018