Irrigation, Conservation Agriculture and Crop Yield Response in a Selected District in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s low-potential zones can be identified with a soaring prevalence of scarcity, shortage, deficiency and lack; depressed rural proceeds, earnings and revenues; low farm yields; and food unavailability. These factors combine to collectively contribute to cause complications, frustrations, hitches and snags to efforts to earn a decent living, income, occupation and employment in the rural areas. Not much is recognized about the effects of farm skills, knowledge, expertise, machinery, tools and equipment on crop output, efficiency, yield and production, and food availability in the semi-arid, low-rainfall and parched segments of land situated in between the higher rainfall districts of Zimbabwe. This research investigated the interaction between selected farm technologies (water harvesting, conservation agriculture, fertilizer/ manure application, and irrigation) and farm yield, production and food availability among households in Ward 11 of Makonde District in Zimbabwe. The data collection method used entailed questionnaire interviews of 60 households chosen through stratified random sampling. Data analysis was conducted in SPSS. Hypothesis testing was conducted by means of the independent samples t-test and one-way between groups analysis of variance. Utilization of conservation agriculture led to significantly greater maize yields. The t-test to determine the effect of utilizing irrigation technology on yields showed that there was a significant difference between mean yields of those practicing irrigation and conservation agriculture, and mean yields of non-adopters. It is thus recommended that development factors like capital, income, wealth and assets for agricultural growth and expansion in low-rainfall districts such as Makonde need to be directed and concentrated towards farm technologies like irrigation and conservation agriculture.
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