The effect of small scale irrigation schemes on rural livelihoods in mbarali district, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
Over the past 30 years, there has been a rapid expansion in the irrigated areas that influence lives of the people. Irrigation is the key livelihood activity in Mbarali district. However, to what extent does small scale irrigation schemes changes lives of the people in are could not be adequately studied. The current study focused on investigating the amount of irrigation produce in relation to the financial gains, expenditure and the family overall needs. Specifically, the study sought to determine the contribution of irrigation schemes towards the improved livelihoods of the people in Mbarali District. In this regard, the study aimed at making an appraisal on Mbarali people’s knowledge and skills in the management and conservation of irrigation agriculture. It also examine the role government and international organizations in developing small scale irrigation schemes in Mbarali district. Data were obtained through the use of interviews, focus goup discussion, participatory rural appraisal and GIS. Data were analysed by using qualitative and quanative tools. As the result, th study revealed that, 85% of the famers believe that irrigation farming is the most profitable and income generating catalyst. 12% irrigators’ households could pay school fees at more than US$628.1 per year in private schools. By contrast, in non-irrigating villages, most of children were reported to be in the government schools located either in the village or nearby village. The study revealed that 49% irrigators and 67.2% non-irrigators of Mbarali household spent between US$ 314 and 628.1 for food. The study also showed that, financial capital is the most important resource for both irrigation farming and rain-fed farming. It was also noted that 21.9% of farmers in irrigated villages acquired knowledge about farming through experience and interaction with parents, relatives, neighbors and elders. Other source of knowledge about irrigation agriculture was from extension officers within the village that served for about 35.4% of the population. A larger percent, ie., 97% in Igurusi ad Ilongo mainly used manure. A fewer farmers in igurusi and Ilono used a small amount of chemical fertilizers and crop residuals. However, in non-irrigation village about 30% of the farmers were alsonoted to use a combination of manure and chemical fertilizers, whereas 18% used crop residual and chemical fertilizers. Most importantly, the study found that the role of government on the development of agriculture is crucial. Thus, the study recommends; first, reduction of the interest rate on SACCOs. This could motivate farmers to deposit money after selling the produce. The money would help them to obtain loan which would assist them not only in the development of agriculture, but also use of money to meet the needs of the family. Second, the provision of fertilizers and pesticides on time to enable farmers to get quality produces at the right time with reliable markets and transport systems, such as roads.
Available in print form, Eat Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library,(THS EAF HD1741.T34S22)
Irrigation, Economic aspect, Mbarali district, Mbeya Reginal, Tanzania
Sabayi, M. M. (2017) The effect of small scale irrigation schemes on rural livelihoods in mbarali district, Tanzania. Doctorial dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam.