Impact and sustainability of drip irrigation kits, in the semi-arid Lower Mzingwane Catchment, Limpopo Basin, Zimbabwe By

Richard Moyo
Smallholder farmers in the Mzingwane Catchment are confronted with low food productivity due to erratic rainfall and limitations to appropriate technologies. Several drip kit distribution programs were carried out in Zimbabwe as part of a global initiative aimed at 2 million poor households a year to take major step on the path out of poverty. Stakeholders have raised concerns of limitations to conditions necessary for sustainable usage of drip kits, such as continuing availability of minimum
more » ... bility of minimum water requirement. Accordingly, a study was carried out to assess the impacts and sustainability of the drip kit program in relation to water availability, access to water and the targeting of beneficiaries. Representatives of the NGOs, local government, traditional leadership and agricultural extension officers were interviewed. Drip kit beneficiaries took part in focus group discussions that were organised on a village basis. A survey was then undertaken over 114 households in two districts, using a questionnaire developed from output of the participatory work. Data were analysed using SPSS. The results from the study show us that not only poor members of the community (defined for the purpose of the study as those not owning cattle), accounting for 54 % of the beneficiaries. This could have been a result of the condition set by some implementing NGOs that beneficiaries must have an assured water source-which is less common for poorer households. Only 2 % of the beneficiaries had used the kit to produce the expected 5 harvests over 2 years, owing to problems related to the water and garden problems. 51 % had produced at least 3 harvests and 86 % 2 harvests. Due to water shortages 61%, cropping using the drip kit was done during the wet season, meaning that the drip kit was mostly used for supplementary irrigation. Conflicts between beneficiaries and water point committees, or other water users developed in some areas, especially during the dry season.