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ACP SUGAR RESEARCH PROGRAMME Steering Committee April 2012 Increasing Sugarcane Yields For Smallholder Farmers Through Improvements In Irrigation Scheduling. PRESENTATION OUTLINE. Background Project Goals and Objectives Project Environment Progress To Date Challenges

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Background Project Goals and Objectives Project Environment Progress To Date Challenges

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ACP SUGAR RESEARCH PROGRAMMESteering Committee April 2012Increasing Sugarcane Yields For Smallholder Farmers Through Improvements In Irrigation Scheduling


  • Background

  • Project Goals and Objectives

  • Project Environment

  • Progress To Date

  • Challenges

  • Risks and Mitigation Measures Taken

  • Coming Year Forecast


  • Study by SSATS has shown that most smallholder farmers do not follow any form of irrigation scheduling.

  • This has led to potential losses in sugarcane productivity;

    • Losses in irrigation water

    • Increase in electricity cost for pumping

    • Leaching of nitrogen fertilizers resulting in high fertilizer costs

    • Aggravated soil losses and therefore pollution of the environment

    • Increase in weeds and weed control costs

    • Increasing need for drainage installation


  • Goals

    • To increase smallholder growers’ understanding of irrigation scheduling

    • To effectively use smallholder grower extension collaborators as a major factor in helping farmers to learn irrigation scheduling

    • To improve smallholder grower cane yields and quality


  • Objectives

    • To provide irrigation scheduling training for selected smallholder growers to be used as extension service collaborators

    • To provide selected growers with information on irrigation scheduling techniques (using Canepro, Peg Board, Irrigation Profit/Loss Records and Soil Auger systems).

    • To ensure growers learn about timely and proper amount of water application during irrigation

    • To assist selected growers in learning how to effectively use the irrigation scheduling techniques to improve the cane yield and quality


  • Political Climate

    • Remains stable for the foreseeable future (project life time)

  • Weather Conditions

    • Remain favourable for sugarcane production and the minimum of 400mm of rainfall between October and March was exceeded. Water storage dams remain at full capacity

  • Markets and Prices

    • The African and European markets remained stable for Swazi sugar and prices are looking better for 2012/13


  • Prevailing Legal and Regulatory Framework

    • Remains conducive to increased farmer involvement in technology use

    • The regulatory environment for sugar trading remains adequate

  • Low Cost Technology Availability

    • Required Computer hard/software and irrigation scheduling tools exist on-shelf at low cost

    • Irrigation equipment, peg boards, rain gauges, soil augers etc available within the country

    • SMS system sourced from a small vendor. SSA scouting for other vendors for alternative supply in future


  • Project Information

    • Information collected from participating growers and captured into Canesched (computer irrigation scheduling system) include:

      • Irrigation Systems; types, discharge rates, stand time and application rates.

      • Field records; crop ratoons and harvest dates

  • Selection of participants

    • A total of 63 smallholder growers were selected throughout the industry

    • Cooperating Extension Officers were identified


  • Project Equipment

    • Rain gauges, Peg Boards, Record Keeping Material and cell phones purchased and distributed to participants

  • IT system and Software

    • Computer hardware for office purchased

    • Canesched program installed

    • SMS software installed

  • Training

    • First training conducted in November 2011 where all participating growers attended.


  • Departure of Initial Project Leader

    • He left at a time when the project just started

    • Replacement appointed and project running smoothly

  • Difficulty in getting SMS software

    • A vendor was identified and system synchronised with cell phone service

    • SSA scouting for alternative vendors in case problems emerge later on



  • Send out daily irrigation messages

  • Supply of daily ET values

  • Conduct at least two grower training sessions (May and September)

  • Continue to send the daily ET values to growers

  • Continue project monitoring (Throughout year)

  • Project evaluation will start in May for the early cuts and end in December for the late cuts

  • Compile annual report for 2012 (December)

  • Conduct support farm visits

Thank You!

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