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Participatory Rural Appraisal to Solve Irrigation Issues

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Farming for Food and Water Security

Part of the book series: Sustainable Agriculture Reviews ((SARV,volume 10))

Abstract

This report unexpectedly shows that farmers performed better than extension officers for crop management. Local knowledge of small-holder farmers should be considered to enhance technical skills in crop production under irrigation. Small-scale farmers of the Tugela Ferry Irrigation scheme in South Africa own 0.1 ha plots. The plots can be increased by leasing from other plot-holders who fail in crop management. This study was initiated in response to the fact that farmers were constrained by the lack of technical approaches for crop management. The farmers relied on technical advisors, known as extension officers, to improve technical knowledge and skills required for successful production of marketable products. The study used participatory rural appraisal as a tool to identify key technical and institutional constraints to crop production. Matrix and pair-wise ranking were used for data classification and analysis. The key outcomes of the study were (i) identification of 12 and 18 desirable attributes of a good extension officer and a good farmer, respectively and (ii) identification of 18 problems constraining crop management practices on the irrigation scheme, and solutions to these problems. A comparison of farmers and extension officers on key performance areas related to crop management, inter alia, skilfulness in use of technology to access water, ability to demonstrate skills to others, achievement of good yields, ability to meet market requirements and gain income, showed that overall, farmers performed better (score = 5.03) compared with extension officers (score = 4.84). The findings therefore demonstrate the usefulness of participatory rural appraisal tools for rural economic development.

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Acknowledgements

The author wishes to thank the Water Research Commission for funding the study as well as the farmers and extension officers of Tugela Ferry for participating.

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Correspondence to Albert T. Modi .

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© 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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Modi, A.T. (2012). Participatory Rural Appraisal to Solve Irrigation Issues. In: Lichtfouse, E. (eds) Farming for Food and Water Security. Sustainable Agriculture Reviews, vol 10. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-4500-1_7

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