An investigation of small scale irrigation as a source of livelihoods in southern Zimbabwe: A case study of Pelele irrigation scheme in Gwanda south district, ward 11.

Author: Mguni, Ulibile

The main objective of this study is to investigate the impact of small scale irrigation as a source of rural livelihoods. The establishment of Pelele Irrigation scheme was an endeavour to improve the welfare and livelihoods of the people; it remains a pressing issue as the economic problems continue to haunt plotholders. Quantitative methodologies were used in the investigation of the impact of the irrigation scheme on people’s livelihoods. A sample of fifty out of total of eighty plot holders was selected using the simple random sampling. Data was collected using questionnaires. Data analysis was done using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16.0. Tables and graphs were employed in data presentation. The results indicate that small scale irrigation has changed people’s livelihoods in Ward 11 Gwanda South. This is evidenced by the assets they have acquired using the revenue generated from small scale irrigation. Scotch carts, bicycles, cattle have been acquired using proceeds from irrigation. Some people have constructed houses at their homes using proceeds from the small scale irrigation. Plot holders are however faced with a shortage inputs such as seeds and fertilizer which hampers their success. Markets are also a challenge, especially for vegetables and tomatoes .At the same time, the research indicates that farmers have problems of the prohibitive cost of inputs. The dam supplying the irrigation scheme was constructed some fifty years ago and has been silted thus rendering a water problem to the scheme such that at times it dries up before crops mature. The intervention of stakeholders such as the central government and non-governmental organizations is recommended to ensure the continued viability and sustainability of irrigation on livelihoods.