Water, Sewage & Effluent May June 2019 - Page 28

The irrigation system was profitable but only when farmers used it for dry-season irrigation of cash crops. users group declined. Apart from the additional cost for pumping, another reason was a lack of household labour to manage the production of cash crops under groundwater irrigation. This, in turn, stemmed from the availability of other livelihood options (such as small businesses and wage labour), which compete with agriculture and may prove more appealing. Clearly, the future development of such systems will depend not just on local hydrogeological conditions, but also on a better understanding of the social and economic factors that influence farmers’ decisions. New technologies during the first year. As farmers gained experience with the high-performance electric pumps, pipe distribution system and other equipment, their trust grew, and they came to have a sense of ownership over the system. The irrigation system was profitable but only when farmers used it for dry-season irrigation of cash crops. Growing rice under these conditions proved to be unprofitable. Increased profits, however, did not translate into increased popularity. In the pilot’s second year, with the subsidy removed, participation in the groundwater As farmers gained experience with the high-performance pumps and other equipment, their trust grew, and they came to have a sense of ownership over the system. 26 Water Sewage & Effluent May/June 2019 www.waterafrica.co.za