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Title:Changes in the upland irrigation system and implications for rural poverty alleviation: a case of the Ndiwa irrigations system, west Usambara mountains, Tanzania
Authors:Sokoni, Cosmas
Shechambo, Tamilwai
Series:REPOA research report
City:Dar es Salaam
Geographic term:Tanzania
poverty reduction
indigenous technology
Abstract:Rural poverty is a major problem in Tanzania that has become the focus of different development strategies. Poverty alleviation is a priority objective in the national development strategies. The Agricultural and Livestock Policy of 1997; the Agricultural Sector Development Strategy of 2001; and the Tanzania Development Vision 2025 recognize the critical importance of agriculture to poverty reduction. However, inadequate and unreliable rainfall has restricted the potential of the rain-fed agriculture for rural poverty alleviation. Consequently, there has been an increasing appreciation of the role of small-scale traditional irrigation development. Yet, traditional irrigation systems face numerous constraints that have to be solved in order to realise their potential for rural poverty alleviation. Ndiwa is an indigenous traditional irrigation system that is practiced on the West Usambara Mountains. The Ndiwa Irrigation System (NIS) has been experiencing various changes that influence its potential for poverty alleviation. This study identifies and explains the changes in NIS and examines their implications to rural poverty alleviation. A sample of seven villages was drawn from three divisions. Data was collected from current, previous and non-ndiwa users through a household questionnaire; group discussions and key informants. The findings of the study show that NIS contributes to poverty alleviation as it enables upland farmers to produce products especially vegetables during the dry season. This not only rescues farmers from unreliable rain-fed agriculture, but also generates higher incomes since farmers can grow high values crops more frequently. Ndiwa farmers are better off compared to non-ndiwa farmers in their possession of material assets such as better houses, more livestock, fields, durable household items and farm implements. These have resulted from the better income earned from using the NIS. However, various constraints threaten this positive contribution of NIS to rural poverty alleviation.