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An Assessment of the Socio- Economic Status of Rice Farmers in Mwea Irrigation Scheme

  • Date Submitted: 10/05/2012 02:08 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 42.6 
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1.0 Chapter 1 - Introduction
1.1 Background
Mwea Irrigation Scheme was established in 1958 as a resettlement scheme with the primary objective of resettling the landless and ex-detainees during the independence struggle. It is situated in Kirinyaga district, in Central province of Kenya about 100 kilometres from Nairobi.   The scheme has a gazetted area of 30,350 acres, of which16,000 acres are used for rice production and rest of the scheme is used for settlement, public utilities, subsistence and horticultural crops farming. The scheme is served by two main rivers Nyamindi and Thiba rivers.   The scheme has about 3000 farmers each working on an average of 4 acres piece of land (NIB website 2009).    
The scheme was managed by the government through the National Irrigation board (NIB) until 1998.   Land tenure was on tenancy basis where the NIB was the landlord and the farmers were the tenants.   The landlord provided inputs, infrastructure, machinery and extension services while the tenant gave labour services at a cost determined by the landlord.   The government had an elaborate structure and systems all the way from farming activities management, water management, financing arrangements, storage, processing and marketing.   At the end of the harvest, the tenant surrendered all the crop to NIB and were provided with twelve sacks of un processed grain for their annual consumption.   With no other incomes, the twelve sacks were the total incomes the farmers received annually which was expected to meet all their basic needs.   Initially the tenants started as singles but they eventually started families and the twelve sacks were no longer sufficient for the feeding of the families.   This resulted in families starving, malnutrition and poverty says a former tenant. (Kariuki, 2009).  
The rice mills were jointly owned between the farmers and the government through their cooperative society Mwea Rice Growers Cooperative Society   However the marketing of the refined...

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