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Name:Determinants of public irrigation schemes performance in Kenya

Ensuring adequate and nutritional access to food for a growing population is a
major concern globally. In Kenya, the national development blueprint Vision 2030
and the Agriculture Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP) stress the
need to eradicate poverty and ensure food security by increasing productivity
of agricultural activities and value addition of agricultural products, as well
as commercialization of the agricultural sector. In recognition of the economic
importance of agriculture, there have been several studies on production where
focus has mainly been on the impact of structural adjustment policies, prices,
standards and regulations, and market liberalization. However, assessment of
the performance of public irrigation schemes in Kenya is not evident. To sustain
food production, the government has invested on rehabilitation and expansion of
irrigation with the aim of bridging the gap of 1.085 million (between irrigation
potential of the country and the already irrigated land) hectares by the year
2030. Despite these efforts, food insecurity in Kenya is a challenge and the
performance of public irrigation scheme is way off the mark, realizing only 40
per cent of the target production levels compared to private operated irrigation
schemes. This study aims to establish the determinants of performance of public
irrigation scheme in Kenya and give policy direction on how production can
be enhanced so as to develop a vibrant irrigated agriculture. The study uses a
panel fixed effect regression model to determine the factors that influence the
performance of public irrigation schemes in Kenya. The results indicate that
the size of land cropped in irrigation schemes, amount of donor funding to
the scheme, and the per acre rate at which operations and maintenance cost
was collected were significant at 1 per cent, 10 per cent, and 10 per cent with
positive, negative, and positive effects on public irrigation scheme, respectively.
Therefore, this study recommends the enhancement of policies and institutional
changes at the scheme level, along with increase in government investments on
irrigation and infrastructure, since they have an influence in production and
productivity of the irrigation schemes. In addition, farmers should be treated as
clients, shareholders or as co-managers of irrigation schemes rather than just
beneficiaries so as to enhance their roles in performance improvement.

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