Determinants of farmers' participation in collective maintenance of irrigation infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal

This study identifies the factors influencing farmers' decision to, and extent of participation in the maintenance of irrigation infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa based on cross-section data collected from 320 randomly selected smallholder irrigating farmers. A two-step Heckman regression model was applied in the analysis. It was established that households whose heads were older, block committee members, with larger irrigation plots, good soil quality and experiencing severe irrigation water shortages are more likely to participate in maintenance of irrigation infrastructure. On the other hand, farmers with insecure land tenure and with no access to irrigation water were less likely to make the decision to participate. Farmers who were members of the farming cooperative as well as block committee members and those paying irrigation water costs were likely to intensively participate in maintaining irrigation infrastructure. Therefore, decentralization alone cannot lead to improved irrigation outcomes. Several factors are necessary for households to participate intensively in the maintenance of irrigation infrastructure. Governments should address these challenges before handing irrigation schemes to their beneficiaries.
Source: Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts ABC - Category: Science Source Type: research

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