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An assessment of smallholder soil and water conservation practices and perceptions in contrasting agro-ecological regions in Zimbabwe

Musiyiwa, K and Harris, D and Leal, W and Gwenzi, W and Nyamangara, J (2017) An assessment of smallholder soil and water conservation practices and perceptions in contrasting agro-ecological regions in Zimbabwe. Water Resources and Rural Development, 9. pp. 1-11. ISSN 2212-6082

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Abstract

Improved soil and water management practices can reduce moisture stress and crop failures associated with rain-fed cropping systems. Little information exists on soil and water management technologies requirements for male and female farmers in different agro-ecological regions. The objective of current study was to investigate farmers’ sources of information and perceptions on soil and water management technologies. Four sites selected from different agro-ecological regions (AERs), sub-humid (Mazowe/Goromonzi, and Kadoma) and semiarid (Matobo and Chiredzi). Data on sources of information on soil and water management, types of technologies preferred by farmers and constraints to adoption of technologies were collected through household interviews and focus group discussions. Results showed that government extension agents, farmer-to farmer extension and non-governmental organizations were the main sources of information on soil and water management technologies at all the sites. NGOs mainly provide information on reduced tillage methods. Main technologies were mulching (61%), reduced tillage methods (53%), and contour ridges (33%) in Mazowe/Goromonzi district, reduced tillage method (83) and mulching (64%) in Kadoma, and reduced tillage methods (54%) and contour ridges (47%) in Matobo. More farmers used soil and water management technologies at the sub-humid sites than at the semi-arid sites. Soil and water conservation technologies used were similar between male-headed (MHH) and female-headed households (FHH). Soil and water conservation technologies used by farmers matched their preferences in two of the four study sites. The findings are important for targeting soil and water management practices in the various agro-ecological zones.

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