Title page for ETD etd-07252012-123122

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Ntai, Palamang Joseph
Email ntai.palamang@yahoo.com
URN etd-07252012-123122
Document Title Critical factors determining successful irrigation farming in Lesotho
Degree MSc
Department Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development
Advisor Name Title
Dr J B Stevens Supervisor
  • irrigation farming in Lesotho
  • water resources
Date 2012-04-24
Availability unrestricted
Lesotho has ample water resources which could be used to improve the livelihoods of Basotho as a nation in many aspects. However, this seems not to be the case as Lesotho suffers from food in security particularly during severe droughts, to an extent of seeking support from international communities. Therefore the purpose of the study was to identify and investigate critical factors that determine successful irrigation farming in Lesotho in order to uplift the performance of irrigation and livelihoods of Basotho. A structural questionnaire was administered amongst 153 irrigation farmers and 31 extensionists randomly in the four southern districts of Lesotho, namely Maseru, Mafeteng, Mohale’s Hoek and Quthing. The above mentioned districts were chosen because of the spacious agricultural land they have. Secondly most rivers with significant amount of water flow towards these areas.

Irrigation farmers showed that households are engaged in a wide range of livelihood activities, both on-farm and off-farm (e.g, taxi, business, etc). In addition, they obtain a substantial portion of the household income from the state through pensions and social grants. Agriculture is an important livelihood activity among irrigation plot holders in the four districts. Maize, potatoes, cabbage and beans are the most common crops grown by irrigation farmers in Lesotho. 34% of the farmers perceive climate as the most important factor determining what crops to plant, while 29% of the respondents consider potential markets as an important factor with decision making. Farmers use hoeing as the main method of controlling weeds and involve family members as their source of labour. 64% of farmers use rivers as their main source of water while the rest use dams and boreholes. Irrigation water is free of charge with exception of the fewer farmers located in the Maseru district where they irrigate from the Mohokahare and Phuthiatsana rivers. Most farmers perceive irrigation as an expensive activity especially those who are using diesel and electricity to pump water from the rivers and dams. Evidence suggests that very few farmers (5%) and extensionists (3%) have received any training in terms of irrigation farming and maintenance of irrigation systems, marketing opportunities and farm entrepreneurship planning. Extension credibility is highly questionable as 70% of irrigation farmers do not regard extension as important for irrigation management decisions. Evidence further indicates that most farmers do not belong to any farmer groups/associations. 78% of extension workers indicate that the main problem hindering them from efficient extension delivery is the lack of infrastructure and facilities.

These results suggest the need for greater political and institutional input in irrigation farming and in particular to revisit institutional policy instruments and institution for extension, technical assistance, training and credit services that will facilitate performance of irrigation farming in Lesotho. Most importantly, farmers and extensionists should be adequately trained on the economic use of water and how to preserve it for sustainable irrigation development.

Copyright © 2011, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Ntai, PJ 2011, Critical factors determining successful irrigation farming in Lesotho, MSc dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-07252012-123122 / >


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