Reasons for smallholder farmers discontinuing with low-cost micro-irrigation: A case study from Kenya


The low head drip kit (micro-irrigation) was introduced in Kenya in the late 1990s. It consists of water containers, usually a bucket or a drum(s), raised about one metre to gain gravitational head. The number and length of drip lines used vary according to the areas to be irrigated which can be as low as 15 m2. The general objective of this research was to find out why some smallholder farmers in the study areas discontinued micro-irrigation. The research was carried out in 2002 by a survey using face-to-face informal interviews with continuing adopters and those who had discontinued adoption. The study revealed that the majority of farmers who discontinued using micro-irrigation stopped due to lack of maintenance, irrelevant cultural background, and unreliable water supply. The influence of some factors seemed to vary between areas. Homogeneity analysis (SPSS) results associated farmers who discontinued the adoption of the micro-irrigation kit with above factors as well as farmers’ subsidies for acquisition of the kit, the use of the smaller bucket kit, and farmers who did not traditionally grow food crops. The findings suggest critical factors to be addressed for the continued adoption of smallholder micro-irrigation.

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Correspondence to I. K. Kulecho.

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Kulecho, I.K., Weatherhead, E.K. Reasons for smallholder farmers discontinuing with low-cost micro-irrigation: A case study from Kenya. Irrig Drainage Syst 19, 179–188 (2005).

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  • drip
  • economics
  • Kenya
  • kit
  • micro-irrigation
  • small-scale/smallholder irrigation
  • technology adoption
  • trickle