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The governance-institutions nexus in water management for climate change adaptation in smallholder irrigation schemes in Zimbabwe.

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Smallholder irrigation schemes (SISs) are crucial for improving food and income security in rural communities in a changing climate. However, despite huge investments and substantial development, most of the schemes have been performing below expectations. This study synthesizes governance-institutional nexus in water management from climate change adaptation in SISs, highlighting the linkage between scheme management and climate change. This study used qualitative and quantitative surveys to collect data from 317 scheme farmers in Exchange, Insukamini and Ruchanyu irrigation schemes of Midlands province, Zimbabwe. The overall objective of this study was to explore the governance-institutions nexus in water management for climate change adaptation in SISs. The specific objectives of the study were: (1) to assess livelihood vulnerability of households in SISs to climate change, (2) to assess the impacts of institutional and governance factors on the adaptive capacity of SISs, (3) to identify gendered perception on the prevalence and management of pests in SISs given climate variability and change, and (4) to assess the water footprint and nutrient content for the crops grown in the schemes. To achieve these objectives, different studies were conducted. In the first component of the study, the Livelihood Vulnerability Index (LVI) and the Livelihood Vulnerability Index—Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (LVI-IPCC) was used to compare vulnerability to climate change in the Exchange, Insukamini, and Ruchanyu SISs in the Midlands Province of Zimbabwe. Results show higher exposure and sensitivity to climate change in the Insukamini irrigation scheme despite the higher adaptive capacity. Both LVI and LVI-IPCC show that households in Insukamini irrigation scheme are more vulnerable to climate change than in Exchange and Ruchanyu irrigation schemes, attributed to water insecurity, poor social networks, and droughts. The study recommends that development and investment in Insukamini and Ruchanyu should prioritize improving social networks while Exchange should primarily focus on improving livelihood strategies. Vulnerability analysis using LVI-IPCC is crucial to better understand the vulnerability of smallholder irrigation schemes farmers to climate change. For instance, it can be used to explore the contribution of socio-economic, institutional and governance factors to the vulnerability of the SIS communities. This will contribute to improved water management for climate change adaptation. This chapter reveals factors that can be considered to increase the resilience SISs in a more variable climate. In the second component of the study, socio-demographic, governance and institutional factors that influence adaptive capacity in Exchange, Insukamini and Ruchanyu irrigation schemes were explored. Questionnaire-based interviews, group discussions and key informant interviews were used for data collection. Adaptive capacity calculated using the livelihood vulnerability model was used as the dependent variable. Ordinary least square regression was used to assess socio-demographic, institutional and governance factors influencing adaptive capacity in the smallholder irrigation schemes. We accept the hypothesis that stronger institutions positively influence the adaptive capacity of smallholder irrigation systems. The study reveals that adaptive capacity was significantly (P ≤ 5%) influenced by a margin of 0.026 for age squared, 0.073 for gender, 0.087 for education, 0.137 for household size, -0.248 for satisfaction with irrigation committee, 0.356 for participation in irrigation water scheduling, and -0.235 for participation formulation of rules. This chapter reveals factors that can be considered to adaptation to climate change in SISs. In the third component of the study, Mann-Whitney U test was employed to assess perception on the prevalence of pests between male and female farmers. Findings from this study depict that the females perceived a higher prevalence of cutworms (Agrotis Ipsilon) (P ≤ 0.01), red spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) (P ≤ 0.01), maize grain weevils (Sitophilus Zeamais) (P ≤ 0.01), and termites (Isoptera) (P ≤ 0.01) than males, while men perceive a higher prevalence of fall armyworms (Spodoptera Frugiperda) (P ≤ 0.01), bollworms (Helicoverpa armigera) (P ≤ 0.01) and whiteflies (Aleyrodidae ) (P ≤ 0.1) than females. Perception of the prevalence of pests was based on farmers' experience and shapes how they manage pests. Utilisation of gendered perception on pest in this chapter enables institutions and governance systems to consider gendered perception on climate change adaptation. Meanwhile, understanding water footprint is crucial to advise farmers to grow water use efficiency crops. Lastly, water footprint approach was used to assess the water metrics and nutrient-water matrix of food crops grown in three SISs in Midlands Province, Zimbabwe. The nutritional matrix of food crops was calculated based on the study done in Exchange, Insukamini, and Ruchanyu Irrigation Schemes in Zimbabwe. Given that the average yield ranges from 1.04 t/ha for sugar beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) to 30.60 t/ha for cucumber (Cucumis Sativus), the water footprint ranges from 278.85 m3/t for cucumber to 4762.98m3/t for sugar beans. Maize (Zea Mays) and wheat (Triticum Aestivum) are energy and carbohydrates rich crops with lower water footprints. Sugar beans have a higher protein content and water footprint, okra have high zinc content and low water footprint, while wheat has higher iron content and low water footprints. Interventions should focus on improving water footprint and opt for crops with the higher nutrient value of key nutritional elements like protein, zinc, and iron to fight hidden hunger. Climate change adaptation in SISs needs understanding of water footprint and nutrient security of the scheme communities.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.