Selection and implementation of Climate Smart Agricultural Technologies: performance and willingness for adoption.
Mazibuko, Ntokozo Lucas.
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The role of subsistence and smallholder agriculture on peoples’ livelihoods in the majority of rural African households is directly related to household food security. Subsistence and smallholder farming provides food at household level, it also acts as part of an income generating mix of strategies enabling households to purchase and exchange products at cheaper prices compared to formal markets prices. However, their vulnerability to climate related issues place a large burden upon their production, creating food shortfalls and insecurity for households. Integration of Climate Smart Agricultural Technologies (CSATs) with local indigenous knowledge may be critical towards improving rural farmers’ food production for food and nutrition security. A mixed method approach was employed in conducting the study. In this method qualitative, quantitative and field trial research methods were employed. The study selected and implemented four appropriate CSATs namely, In-field Rainwater Harvesting (IRWH), Mechanized Basin (MB), Minimum Tillage (MT) an Conventional Tillage (CT) in two homestead plots (MaNxusa and Musa) and one school garden (Inyaninga Primary School) in KwaSwayimane, KwaZulu-Natal. These technologies were selected based on biophysical properties, climatic conditions and institutional arrangements that exist in selected study area. Maize crop was considered as a test crop across the treatments in two sites, plot one and plot two (MaNxusa and Musa) respectively, while beans, spinach and cabbage were planted in plot three for dietary requirements at start up level of the food value chain. The results in plot one showed that IRWH and MB outperformed MT and CT. These results revealed that IRWH and MB collected and stored more water in the soil to support plant growth and production since it captures water from runoff area and stores it in the basins, which was not the case for CT and MT. Similar trends were observed in plot 2 except that CT performed better which can be associated with farmer’s management practice. The farmer in this site only treated CT with N-fertilizer while others did not receive the same treatment. The farmers’ perceptions based on the results and information sharing days conducted during the course of the study considered IRWH as the best CSAT. The expressions to upscale the use of this technology by farmers were widely expressed due to better yield from demonstration sites which could improve household food security and sustainable livelihood. The study further found that farmers needed incentives in order to adopt certain technologies and partner with research process. The study concludes that IRWH is a good CSAT and that strong participatory engagement with farmers and stakeholders to foster adoption is important. The study recommends strong farmer centered partnerships supported by other stakeholders including government and NGOs and market related stakeholders.