Economics of Rice Irrigation Technologies in Kilombero Sub-Basin: A Case of Farming Households from Kilombero in Morogoro, Tanzania

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Martin Komba
Gody Sanga


Irrigation technologies, sub-basin, Net revenue, Traditional flooding, SRI, and farming household


The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is strongly emphasized by the Ministry of Agriculture in Tanzania to replace traditional flooding. SRI technologies have been scientifically proven to be more efficient in water use than traditional flooding (TFIT). SRI irrigation is therefore a good solution to approach climate change impacts that leads to water stresses, particularly in the country's water basins where rice farming is largely taking place. However, the economics of these irrigation technologies has not been satisfactorily evaluated especially at the farming household level. The information on the economics of the two technologies is important in understanding why some farmers are still using TFIT. Kilombero sub-basin presents a compelling case for this study as 90% of irrigable land in the sub-basin is under TFIT. The study used Net-Revenue (NR) to evaluate profitability, and multiple linear regressions to evaluate factors influencing the profitability of the two irrigation technologies at household level. Results from the study show that an average of TZS 816,425 accrued by SRI irrigators, which is relatively higher than TZS 336,646 per acre accrued by TFIT irrigators. These benefits are obtained at different variable costs, for instance, SRI had an Average Variable Cost of TZS 471,572, which is relatively higher than TZS 248,939 per acre under TFIT. Also, results show that household head years in irrigation, years spent in education, access to extension services, application of fertilizers, and size of land allocated to rice production, are significant predictors of the profit of both technologies. For example, each incremental unit of fertilizer applied would cause an NR increase of TZS 534, 181 (in SRI plots), and TZS 5145 (in TFIT plots). The study thus recommends that subsidization of inorganic fertilizers could be adopted in an effort to increase rice productivity and profit accrued by farming households.

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