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UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft (2011)

Adoption of water saving technologies in smallholder irrigation schemes in Central Province, Kenya

Gitahi, J.G.

Titre : Adoption of water saving technologies in smallholder irrigation schemes in Central Province, Kenya

Auteur : Gitahi, J.G.

Etablissement de soutenance : UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, Delft

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2011

The agricultural sector is vital in Kenya for food sufficiency and security, employment creation and foreign exchange earnings. In the recent years the sector has been growing steadily due to population growth and availability of export markets. For instance the area under horticultural crops in the country rose from 350,000 ha in 2002 to 380,500 ha in 2006.Rainfall is bimodal, with the long rains being received from April to May and the short rains between October and November. To sustain crop production between the rainy seasons irrigation becomes a necessity. Kenya is not well endowed with water resources and is classified among the water scarce countries. This study was conducted to find the possibility of sustaining irrigated agriculture by adoption of water saving technologies especially where competition for water is steadily growing. Central Province was identified as a good site given that it is one of the areas where agriculture is concentrated and is the main economic activity, the community living in the Province is deeply rooted in agriculture, the soils and climate are conducive to agricultural production. Since agriculture is the main economic activity irrigation water is in high demand for reliable agricultural production and hence generation of regular income. A number of big towns are found in the Province and its surroundings including the capital city, Nairobi. The water to these towns is abstracted from the area. Due to economic development and population growth there is increasing demand for water hence the competition between agricultural, industrial, domestic and environmental purposes. Irrigation is a major consumer of water hence if the agricultural water can be used efficiently then more of it would be available for the other uses. That is why this study focused on irrigation technologies practised in the Province namely sprinkler, drip and the local bucket irrigation where watering cans are used to water the crop. Those practising bucket irrigation were included in the study since they are the most likely future adopters of either the drip or the low pressure sprinkler systems. The objective of the study was to find out why the adoption of drip and low pressure sprinklers is low and the effect it would have on irrigated area in the Province if widely adopted. To address the research questions the necessary data was sought from the farmers and the stakeholders through interviews and questionnaires. Existing literature from different sources on similar studies conducted elsewhere was referred to.

Sujets  : sprinkler irrigation ; irrigation schemes ; smallholder irrigation ; Kenya


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