Project

Approaches for Emerging Farmer Participation in Water Resource Management: The Case of the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA), Western Cape

Goal: Review progress in accessing water resources by emerging smallholder farmers in the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Area.

Explore the role and challenges faced by smallholder farmers in participating in water resource management.

Explore opportunities for engaging emerging farmers to participate in water resource management processes.

Date: 1 April 2014

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Project log

Bongani Ncube
added a research item
Agricultural water is not equitably shared in South Africa. A substantial proportion of water is in the hands of large commercial farmers and the water access of smallholder farmers is limited. Policies and strategies developed since 1994 to ensure equal access to productive water have had little impact. This paper presents an analysis of the challenges of accessing water through the water user licence process in the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA) of South Africa. A review of the national Water Allocation Reform (WAR) programme and the related BGCMA strategies was carried out. Interviews were conducted with smallholder farmers and with key officials responsible for water allocation processes in the BGCMA and other water-related institutions; the Framework of Water Governance by Franks and Cleaver (2007) was used to analyse the processes. Results revealed that existing lawful water use continues to privilege previously advantaged commercial farmers and that smallholder farmers’ access to productive water is hampered by lack of human and financial capacity within the institutions that support them, and by limited coordination among these institutions. A water allocation unit at the BGCMA that specifically deals with water licencing is necessary to speed up the process and to enable local people to inclusively participate in water resource management.
Bongani Ncube
added a research item
After many years of water allocation reform, emerging farmers are still lagging behind as far as equity and access to water resources is concerned, and their participation in water user associations is still limited or passive. Recent collaboration between researchers and the water sector aimed to improve this situation in the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Area.
Bongani Ncube
added a research item
Part of the project: Approaches for Emerging Farmer Participation in Water Resource Management: The Case of the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA), Western Cape
Bongani Ncube
added an update
Project complete, sharing final report.
 
Bongani Ncube
added an update
Project complete.
 
Bongani Ncube
added a research item
Improving agricultural production remains a major challenge for smallholder farmers in South Africa. The enactment of the 1998 Water Act and subsequent water allocation reforms were meant to correct equity challenges of the past in water allocation and increase agricultural productivity in the rural sector. More than 20 years after the initiation of the processes smallholder farmers remain poor with limited agricultural productivity. With the advent of more frequent droughts and the ever increasing climate change threat, the need to find lasting solutions for smallholder agriculture remains a priority for the government. So far the emphasis has been placed on water allocation, but could this be the only challenge to smallholder farmer livelihoods? South Africa is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in history. Smallholder farmers who are already faced with water shortages have been the worst hit. The research sought to untangle some of the complexities of improving smallholder farmer livelihoods in the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Area (BGCMA) in the Western Cape, one of the first two catchment management areas to be created in South Africa. The main aim of the study was to assess constraints in addition to water, to the success of smallholder farmers in improving livelihoods. The specific objectives were to determine how institutional policies limited smallholder farmers from accessing resources in the Western Cape; to identify constraints affecting smallholder farmer performance and participation in agricultural activities. Interviews with farmers and key informants in government and other relevant institutions were conducted to determine how institutional arrangements have influenced and impacted the success of smallholder farmers. Results indicated uncoordinated institutional processes to support smallholder farmers resulting in limited participation by smallholder farmers in policy and strategy formulation. Farmer livelihoods were constrained by lack of information, limited access to water and lack of funding. The results and recommendations of the study were shared with the BGCMA and other relevant institutions with the aim of influencing future policy formulation for smallholder farmer livelihoods. The institutions decided to address the information gap through collaborative effort. The process has resulted in the creation of better relationships and trust between the smallholder farmers and the institutions.
Bongani Ncube
added 4 research items
The main aim of the project was to assess some of the issues and challenges that have resulted in limited progress in agricultural water allocation to Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDIs) in the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA) in South Africa, despite all the efforts, and to explore ways to alleviate the situation.
Bongani Ncube
added an update
Project completed
 
Bongani Ncube
added 2 research items
The National Water Act (1998) of South Africa has three main principles to achieve equitable access to water resources, environmental sustainability and efficient use of water. Consequently, water allocation reforms were implemented to ensure historically disadvantaged individuals also have access to water. Despite these efforts there is a perception that smallholder farmers who are part of the disadvantaged group still do not have access to water for agricultural use. The study aimed to assess the contributions of water allocation reforms in achieving equitable access to water for historically disadvantaged groups, particularly emerging smallholder farmers. Water use licensing, registration and validation processes were reviewed to assess the contribution of the reforms in the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Area (BGCMA). Interviews were conducted to determine how the reforms have influenced equitable access to water for agricultural use by smallholder farmers. The sustainable livelihood analysis approach was used to analyze the factors that contribute to or impede equitable access to water by smallholder farmers. Results so far indicate that water licensing, registration and validation have not reached the target set out in the reforms, because the processes are time consuming. Results also show that smallholder farmers also lack human capital such as knowledge and skills to use the water even where they gain access. The next phase of the study is to assess how other livelihood factors such as economic, physical and social capital influence equitable access to water. The expected outcomes of the study will be recommendations for an improved approach in the reform process ensure equitable access to water to smallholder farmers.
Improving agricultural production remains a major challenge for smallholder farmers in South Africa. The enactment of the 1998 Water Act and subsequent water allocation reforms were meant to correct equity challenges of the past in water allocation and increase agricultural productivity in the rural sector. More than 20 years after the initiation of the processes smallholder farmers remain poor with limited productivity. With the advent of more frequent droughts and the ever increasing climate change threat, the need to find lasting solutions for smallholder agriculture remains a priority for the government. So far emphasis has been placed on water allocation, but could this be the only challenge to smallholder farmer livelihoods? South Africa is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in history. Smallholder farmers who are already faced with water shortages are the worst hit. The research sought to untangle some of the complexities of improving smallholder farmer livelihoods in the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Area (BGCMA) in the Western Cape, one of the first two catchment management areas to be created in South Africa. The main aim of the study was to assess constraints in addition to water, to the success of smallholder farmers in improving livelihoods. The specific objectives were to determine how institutional policies limited smallholder farmers from accessing resources in the Western Cape; to identify constraints affecting smallholder farmer performance and participation in agricultural activities. Interviews with farmers and key informants in government and other relevant institutions were conducted to determine how institutional arrangements have influenced and impacted the success of smallholder farmers. Results indicated uncoordinated institutional processes to support smallholder farmers resulting in limited participation by smallholder farmers in policy and strategy formulation. Farmer livelihoods were constrained by lack of information, limited access to water and lack of funding. The results and recommendations of the study will be shared with the BGCMA and other relevant institutions with the aim of influencing future policy formulation for smallholder farmer livelihoods.
Bongani Ncube
added a project goal
Review progress in accessing water resources by emerging smallholder farmers in the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Area.
Explore the role and challenges faced by smallholder farmers in participating in water resource management.
Explore opportunities for engaging emerging farmers to participate in water resource management processes.