Water resource management for subsistence farming in Ward 19 of KwaZulu-Natal
Bakre, Olayemi Rahman
MetadataShow full item record
South African rural areas are amongst the poorest in the world, as there is still a wide gap in terms of development with their urban neighbours. With an estimated 6.4 million South Africans falling below the national poverty line in 2010, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) remains the province with the highest number of poor people. The majority of rural dwellers in South Africa and KZN rely on subsistence farming, while others depend on government grants or family members living and working in urban areas to sustain a living. However, the income received is often insufficient to cater for their daily needs. In consonance with the high prevalence of poverty and the stagnation of subsistence farming, this study aims to examine the role of water supply in rural agricultural development in the Ward 19 area of Mtubatuba Municipality, which is situated along the north eastern region of KZN. To accomplish this aim, a mixed research approach with elements of qualitative (interviews) and quantitative (questionnaire) research techniques was used to obtain relevant information. A total of 50 participants took part in this study, all of whom were subsistence farmers in Ward 19 of Mtubatuba Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal. Furthermore, interviews were conducted with three senior officials from the regional office of the Department of Water Affairs in Durban; three staff members from the Mtubatuba Municipality; two individuals from Ward 19; two senior staff members from the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development in Mtubatuba; as well as two senior staff members from Umkanyakude water services provider in Mtubatuba. The study revealed that water shortages have adversely undermined the development and growth of subsistence farming in this poor community. Furthermore, the difficulties experienced by the marginalised people of Ward 19 are typical of many rural areas which have not fully benefitted from transformation in a post-apartheid South Africa. In order to address the defunct subsistence iii farming in this community, the study proposed a well-tailored and effective water resource management approach with the intention of transforming subsistence farming into commercial farming, thus improving the standard of living and reducing poverty to a reasonable level. Furthermore, in recognition that the area under study is dominated by women, the study emphasised the imperativeness of empowering the women of the community as a strategy underpinning rural development.