Factors Influencing Farmers Participation in Smallholder Irrigation Schemes: The Case of Ntfonjeni Rural Development Area

Nokuphiwa L. Sithole, Job K. Lagat, Micah B. Masuku


Most Swazi households depend on rainfed agriculture for food production, which limits the output because of the unreliable rainfall in the country. To mitigate this, the government has invested in rehabilitation of irrigation schemes to reduce the dependence on rainfall. This study therefore determined the factors influencing participation of farmers in small holder irrigation schemes in Swaziland, using Ntfonjeni Rural Development Area (RDA), as a case study. A multistage sampling technique was used to select 96 farming households, 48 participants of local irrigation scheme and 48 non participants. Data was collected using questionnaires. Analysis involved descriptive statistics and probit model. The study revealed that the participation in small holder irrigation schemes is significantly influenced by households distance to the scheme, age and occupation of household head, farm size and access to credit and membership in other groups. Participation improves output and income for households.  Hence it is recommended that peasant farmers should be assisted with credit facilities as an incentive to participate in irrigation schemes.

Key words: Participation, small scale irrigation schemes, Probit, Ntfonjeni, Swaziland


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