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Determinants of micro irrigation adoption for maize production in smallholder irrigation schemes: Case of Hama Mavhaire irrigation scheme, Zimbabwe

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Abstract:

This study is an assessment of the determinants of micro irrigation adoption for maize production in smallholder irrigation schemes. The focus of the study was on Hama Mavhaire irrigation scheme in Midlands Province, Zimbabwe. An assessment of the major production constraints in the scheme was carried out, factors that influence the decision to adopt micro irrigation for maize production identified, the extent of adoption of micro irrigation for maize production and the contribution of micro irrigation to maize yields were determined. Questionnaires, semi structured interviews and focus group discussions were used as data collection tools. Friedman test for ranking was used to rank the production constraints and the logit regression analysis to determine the factors that influence the adoption decision. One sample t-test was employed to ascertain the level of micro irrigation adoption for maize production and multiple regression to determine the impact of micro irrigation on maize yields in smallholder irrigation schemes. Ranking results showed that input unavailability followed by inefficient irrigation systems are the major production constraints. The gender, age and agricultural training of household head had a significant (P<0.05) influence on the adoption decision. Results from the study show that 66.7% of trained farmers and 33.3% of untrained farmers adopted micro irrigation. This shows the importance of training in decision making. One sample t-test results showed no statistically significant (P>0.05) difference between the hypothesised (0.35) and generated (0.31) mean adoption values. The hypothesis of low adoption of micro irrigation for maize production was accepted. Micro irrigation was found to have a significant (P<0.05) impact on maize yields in the smallholder irrigation scheme. Intervention by the government, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and other stakeholders in the provision of low cost micro irrigation systems for smallholder farmers may enhance the uptake and result in increased maize yields in these schemes.

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