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Cycle 6 (2017 Deadline)

Water security and social-hydrological resilience for rural small-scale crop value chains

PI: Marizvikuru Manjoro neé Mwale,, University of Venda
U.S. Partner: Brian Chaffin, University of Montana, Missoula
Project Dates: March 2018- February 2020

Project Overview

This study proposes a value-chain approach to answer important research questions for sustainable agriculture, food and water security, and social-hydrological resilience. How can we secure scarce water resources along rural small-scale crop farming value chains at a river basin scale? How can we promote water security that supports small-scale agricultural productivity? How can we improve access to appropriate quantity and quality of water to ensure food security and social-hydrological resilience?

To answer these questions, the PI and her team will take three distinct approaches. The initial phase of the project will involve a detailed literature review on agricultural water use, security, productivity and footprinting. The review will seek to document the potential benefits of understanding water utilization by rural small-scale crops in South Africa and the broader region. This initial phase of the proposed research will also contribute to the identification of suitable sites and suitable crops to be evaluated. In the second phase, the researchers will apply the value-chain analysis framework to assess water use in the production, post-harvest handling, and consumption of selected crops in the Limpopo and Zambezi River Basins.

Value-chain mapping will also be used to identify and characterize actors and their linkages, from the producer to the final consumer. Comparison of variations of water use values for selected smallholder crops will be carried out, complemented by data from the value-chain mapping exercise. The team will use participatory rural appraisals to generate sufficient data for the value chain mapping.

The third phase of the study will involve the process of estimating the water footprint for selected crops within the Limpopo and Zambezi River Basins. The focus will be on the production stage, that is, the cultivation of the agricultural crops from planting to harvesting, during the 1990-2017 period.

The team will compare the water footprint for crops grown in both the Limpopo Basin and the Zambezi Basin to produce regional data sets that can inform policy. The proposed water footprinting exercise will provide information that is useful for post-harvest applications, as well.

Summary of Recent Events

During this period, Dr. Manjoro and her team engaged with farmers at the Nwanedi irrigation scheme in Limpopo Province. They used a stakeholder matrix as a tool during the meetings to gauge stakeholders’ level of interest, needs, and the potential impact of the project. They also engaged with the committee members and few scheme members of the Mphaila irrigation scheme and the Luvhada irrigation scheme. The researchers gathered useful information that will assist them in mapping the way forward to achieving project goals.

Stakeholder consultative workshops and meetings were held during the quarter in Zambia with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA), Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA), and Kaleya. The workshop with WWF-Zambia focused on designing the modalities of a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between Monash South Africa and WWF-Zambia regarding cooperation. The meeting with the Kaleya Scheme was used to negotiate research access to the smallholder farmers that operate under the scheme. The meeting with WARMA focused on the policy implications of the project, and lastly the meeting with KAZA explored the international and regional dimensions of the project. All stakeholders from these different organizations expressed their support and willingness to work with the project.

In the next 3-6 months, the PI and her team will carry out the following activities:
  1. The developed value chain instrument would be pre-tested end of July and data collection will commence in August 2019.
  2. The water foot print tool being developed will be finalised in August 2019, pretested and data collection will commence in September 2019. Thereafter data analysis will be done.
  3. The recently confirmed postgraduate students are at proposal development stage. The Masters students at UNIVEN are expected to finalize their research proposals and present them to the School of Agriculture Higher Degrees Committee in September 2019 for recommendation and subsequent approval by the university higher degrees committee, The students have to write review papers by November 2019 and commence data collection in February 2020.
  4. Honours students have finalized their research proposals and are developing data collection tools in line with the project objectives. They are expected to complete their research work by February 2019 for them to graduate in May 2020.
  5. The three draft review papers presented at INSAKA Conference will be finalised and submitted for publication consideration by end of this year.
  6. Offer training workshops such as Atlas ti, paper writing and publication for students as capacity building. This will enhance their participation in the project and improve the quality of the graduates.
  7. Conduct a training workshop for small scale sugar farmers in Kaleya Zambia in collaboration with WWF Zambia.

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