Thabo Ndlovu, Funa Moyo, Whitehead Zikhali, Clifford Mabhena
The article explores the role of farmer participation towards sustainable agricultural production in Zimbabwe using the case of Makwe irrigation scheme. Research has shown that crop farming in semiarid regions of most developing countries can be sustainable through irrigation. Most irrigation schemes have been brought top-down to the beneficiary communities with minimal consultation and participation by the irrigators. This has led to failure of most of these schemes. Using the descriptive survey and in-depth interviews to gather data the authors argue that irrigation farmer participation has the potential to increase production in irrigation schemes. Following through this argument the authors found out that not only participation is a panacea to sustainable agricultural production, but also factors such as access to inputs, financial resources, capacity building and marketing are key variables for sustainable agricultural production in irrigation schemes. The study therefore concludes that even with all other factors taken care of; farmer participation is a key variable for the success of irrigation development let alone sustainable agricultural production. Further studies can be conducted to analyse power dynamics and its influence on sustainable irrigation production by rural farmers.
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