An evaluation of selected appropriate irrigation technologies for small-scale farmers.
South Africa lacks affordable irrigation technologies suited entirely to the needs of small-scale farmers. This is mainly due to the past emphasis on large, commercial farming technologies and the misunderstanding that emerging farmers can utilise scaled down versions of such technologies. It is now believed that increased irrigation amongst smallholders could largely assist with food security and poverty alleviation in South Africa. The object of this project was therefore to evaluate selected appropriate irrigation technologies that are currently being used in other developing countries with the intention of introducing them into South Africa. A literature review on all the irrigation technologies currently being used by small-scale farmers in South Africa was performed. The literature review provided information on the factors affecting the adoption of irrigation technologies. Selected technologies, namely, various low-cost, manual pumps and drip irrigation kits were then imported and evaluated under local conditions. The evaluation process was divided into two sections. Qualitative evaluations were carried out on farms and by farmers themselves and quantitative evaluations were carried out in laboratories and closely monitored field trials. A South African prototype pump was then designed and built following the knowledge gained from testing the imported pumps. The prototype was tested and then refined and rebuilt. The qualitative test results showed a very positive reaction from farmers towards the pumps. The drip irrigation kits were often not used as a result of a lack of understanding by the farmers. The laboratory test phase highlighted the more critical components of the pumps. A recommended introduction strategy was then developed and is presented. This evaluation process and introduction strategy could in future be used as a guideline when developing other suitable technologies for small-scale farmers.I wish to certify that the work reported in this dissertation is my own unaided work except where specific acknowledge is made. In addition I wish to declare that this dissertation has not been submitted for a degree in any other university.