Benchmarking operations and maintenance for small scale sugarcane schemes in Swaziland

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University of Dar es Salaam
With increasing number of irrigation systems failing before their lifetimes, irrigation schemes in many countries have to find ways to improve performance. The research aims at benchmarking operations and maintenance (O&M) for sugarcane irrigation schemes in Swaziland. Three irrigation schemes were selected as case studies. These schemes use floppy, rain-bird and centre pivot irrigation systems respectively. Monthly data collected include repair costs, electricity used (KWH and KVA) and costs, irrigation labour costs, water abstractions, yields (tonnes of sugarcane and sugar produced) and elevation head for the schemes. Analysis was done on a ha-1 basis. Since the benchmarks are in a ha-1 year*1 format, annual averages were then calculated from the monthly data for compatibility and comparability. Actual performance for the smallholder irrigation schemes was then compared against known benchmarks for the sugarcane industry in Swaziland. All irrigation schemes utilised water below their benchmark (allocated water); electricity utilisation and expenditure was above the benchmark for floppy; repair costs were high for the rain- bird sprinkler and electricity costs increased with increase in elevation depending on the type of irrigation system and distance from the water source. To recap, O&M activities for irrigation schemes in Swaziland are reactive instead of being preventive. This is indicated by frequent system breakdowns and consequent decline in yield performances. Hence, it is recommended that irrigation schemes choose flatter areas for development and consider surface irrigation, prioritise O&M activities and prepare programmes and action plans and irrigation schedules, and choose the relevant irrigation system suitable for the land. This can reduce O&M costs.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF TA610.S78M37)
Benchmarking operations, Sugarcane schemes
Masilela, M.D (2007) Benchmarking operations and maintenance for small scale sugarcane schemes in Swaziland, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam.