Impacts of Zimbabwe European union micro-project programme (ZIM/EU MPP) in funding smallholder irrigation projects on food security and income levels: A case study of Mopane irrigation scheme in Zvishavane, Midlands province, Zimbabwe
African Journal of Agricultural Research
Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Fort Hare, South Africa; Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zimbabwe, P. O. Box MP167, Mt Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe; Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, University of Fort Hare, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, P. O. Box X1314, South Africa
At least 70% of smallholders live in the semi-arid regions IV and V where rainfall is erratic and soils in these regions are derived from granite and generally shallow, light textured and of low fertility. As a result, farmers cannot produce adequate grain to meet their annual household requirements by dry land farming. The Zimbabwe/EU Micro-projects Programme has funded smallholder irrigation projects since 1982 to improve the food security in these marginal areas. In an effort to assess the impacts of the ZIM/EU MPP funded irrigation schemes and justify further investments in smallholder irrigation projects, a case study based on a comparative analysis between irrigators and non-irrigators was done at Mopane Irrigation Scheme. Preliminary results indicated irrigators were more food secure than non-irrigators. Using the Gross Margin Analysis, irrigators were found to be better performers with increased incomes than non-irrigators. A regression analysis to examine factors affecting food security level revealed that household size, off-farm income, draught power to be significant at the 5% confidence interval. The study concluded that irrigators were more food secure and better performers than non-irrigators. The ZIM/EU MPP should continue to invest more resources in smallholder irrigation schemes. The study recommends that governments, public and private institutions and non-governmental organisations are recommended to work together defining and implementing comprehensive strategies for smallholder irrigation development, especially in the smallholder communal areas so as to ensure increased food security, income and employment to the rural population. ©2010 Academic Journals.