Continuity and controversy in smallholder irrigation
van der Zaag, Pieter
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Smallholder irrigation has been the subject of recurring discussions throughout Zimbabwe’s colonial and post-colonial history. Both before and after independence on 18 April 1980, questions have been asked and answers sought with regards to the status of smallholder irrigation. This apparent interest in smallholder irrigation, however, does not correspond to its current contribution to the national economy J^Rukuni, 1993a: 2; Rukuni and Makadho, 1994: 137). Smallholder irrigation covers ,;a mere 5 per cent of the total irrigated area in the country, estimated at 150,000 ha (Rukuni, 1988a: 205: IFAD, 1994: 2, sec Tables 1.1 and 1.2). According to Harvey et al. (1987: 143), the gross output from smallholder irrigation in the 1984/85 agricultural season was only 0.4 per cent of the total agricultural produce (cf. Peacock 1995). Why then has interest in smallholder irrigation been high among policy makers, academics, farmers and lay people?