Knowledge and adoption of water use efficiency techniques among women irrigators: evidence from South Africa
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The aim of the study was to determine the knowledge and adoption of water use efficiency techniques among women irrigators in the North West Province, South Africa. In this study, ex-post facto designed was used with a sample size of 108 farmers interviewed from the list obtained from the Department of Rural Environment and Agricultural Development (Farmer Support and Development – extension officers). Data collected was analysed using frequency counts, percentages, means, standard deviation and probit regression model. The findings revealed that majority of women irrigators were above 40 years of age, had secondary level of education, married and had a household size of 4-6 members. Majority of the women involved in irrigation farming were allocated land by tribal authorities with the assistance of the Department of Agriculture. Women irrigators in the study area were mostly aware of water use efficiency techniques such as crop rotation (93.5%), application of manure and fertilizer (92.6%) and terracing techniques (78.7%). The water use efficiency techniques adopted in the schemes are: crop rotation (78.8%), application of manure and fertilizer (78.8%) and cover crops (47.2%). The farmers were highly knowledgeable on mulching (91.7%), water harvesting (88.9%) and weed control (86.1%) while the most common constraint faced by women farmers on water use efficiency is lack of information (92.6%). Probit regression model revealed that the significant determinants for adoption of water use efficiency techniques include membership of farmers’ groups, frequency of extension visits, existence of water tariffs, payment of tariffs, age, farm size and number of plot. The study recommends that extension services be strengthened in order to improve the knowledge on water use efficiency techniques among farmers.