The study was conducted at Bahi District to assess contribution of paddy production toward annual household income among smallholder paddy producer. The study had three specific objectives, to determine level of paddy production at Bahi district, to determine household income earned from paddy and other sources and to analyse factors affecting paddy production among smallholder producers. Data were collected through interview, observation, focus group discussion and documentary review. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were adopted during data analysis. Finding from the study showed that average land used in paddy production by smallholder paddy producers is 2.75 acres with an average production of 934.75 Kg of rice per acre in 2014 season. The average annual income earned from paddy production was Tsh 1,980,885 and contributed 34% to annual household income among smallholder paddy producers. Extension services, credit accessibility and use of agricultural inputs were major factors observed to affect paddy production. However, smallholder paddy producers in Bahi have not yet utilized agricultural inputs effectively. Extension services provided were insufficient and paddy production in Bahi depends on rainfall from river Bubu catchment areas to facilitate availability of water for irrigation. Therefore smallholder paddy producers should be empowered to adopt modern production techniques include use of agricultural inputs. Government should hire more extension officers to extend extension services for efficient transfer of production technologies. River Bubu catchment areas and banks should be protected by the government and environmental conservation partners to ensure availability of enough water for irrigations in Bahi.
Agriculture is critical to an economy, accounting for 25.8% of GDP and 80% of total employment. It also provides raw materials to her agricultural industrial sector. The country is endowed with a total area of 94.5 million hectares (ha), out of which 44 million (ha) is arable land suitable for agricultural production. Forest land covers 48.1 million ha and the area under fresh water bodies is approximately 62 000 square kilometers (Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT), 2015). Only 23% of the arable land is currently under cultivation (United Republic of Tanzania (URT), 2012). Factors that contributed to this small percent include soil erosion, leaching and drought proneness (URT, 2013). Low infrastructure and capital investments are also important factors in this context (Bjornlund et al., 2016; Mdemu et al., 2017). Nonetheless, agriculture remains the most important sector in the country. It produces over 80% of the food consumed locally as well as accounting for 74.5% of agriculture‘s share of the GDP (Isinika et al., 2016).
Crop production is mainly rain-fed, and which is currently threatened by several risk factors including climate change and progressive land degradation caused by human activities. This poses serious challenges to both rain-fed and irrigated agriculture. This calls for specific interventions in order to increase and sustain land productivity. In Tanzania, 29.8 million haof arable land is potential for irrigation. However, currently only about 1.5 percent is under irrigation (URT, 2013). Of these, 64% is under Farmer-Managed Irrigation Schemes (FMIS) while 36% is Estates under Agency-Managed Irrigation Schemes (AMIS) (URT, 2011).
The commonly used yardsticks for defining FMISs include the status of irrigation infrastructures (e.g. design and construction status) and land levelling. In this context, Tanzania‘s FMIS have been categorized as either traditional or improved (modern) (Agriculture Water Management (AWM), 2010). The former involves the use of simple unlined canals, and the latter involves schemes with improved irrigation structures (headwork structures designed and constructed irrigation and drainage canals as well as land leveling). However, there is a third category; farmers do call it ‗a semi-improved scheme. These are schemes with incomplete irrigation systems. In this case, the intakes are properly designed and constructed, and sometimes the main canals are also designed and constructed. The main canals may even be lined while the rest irrigation systems remain traditional in every aspect. The FMISs serve as a means to ensure food security and are essential for providing employment opportunities for landless poor (You et al., 2010). Although crop productivity gains from irrigation remain contested (Fanadzo et al., 2010), they provide insurance for farmers against drought and play an integral role in a transition from subsistence to commercial farming. Over the past 40 years, the FMISs have been a development focus for rural household livelihood improvement strategies (Sinyolo et al., 2014). Paddy is the main crop grown in these FMISs, and its value has increased rapidly throughout Tanzania. It is now the second most important staple food crop after maize and is both a food and a commercial crop (National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), 2008). In a broader economic context, paddy is viewed as a cash crop due to its export potential and its contribution to national food security.