Scielo RSS <![CDATA[South African Journal of Agricultural Extension ]]> vol. 49 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>The sustainability of small-scale sheep farming systems in the Northern Cape (Hantam Karoo), South Africa</b>]]> The objective of the study was to assess the current sustainability of small-scale sheep farming systems in the Hantam Karoo, Northern Cape Province (South Africa). The influence of economic, social, and environmental variables (indicators) in promoting the development of sustainable sheep farming was taken into account. Thirty-two small-scale sheep farmers were interviewed using questionnaires which consisted of structured and unstructured questions. The results showed that the sheep farming system was mostly not economically viable due to low sheep numbers, but partially sustainable in the social context. Small flocks result in low income and profitability which is not sustainable. Market access was not a limitation because farmers had good trade relations. Farming benefitted farmers 'families and the community and farmers had access to basic resources. Secure tenure was a major challenge to small-scale farmers. With regard to environmental variables, grazing conditions were poor. In 2017, stocking density was within the norm, which means that frequent droughts and continuous grazing methods rather than sheep stocking rates were probably responsible for poor grazing conditions. Extension advisors could teach the practice of rotational grazing and it might be a good idea to promote gender equality in order to alleviate poverty and increase food security. <![CDATA[<b>A review of possibilities for using animal tracking devices to mitigate stock theft in smallholder livestock farming systems in rural South Africa</b>]]> Stock theft is among the major challenges faced by livestock farmers in South Africa. It has severe consequences especially for smallholder farmers, who collectively own a large share of the South African livestock herds but individually keep small herds. In recent years, technological improvements and innovations have made it possible to track livestock movements by using GPS animal tracking devices. Low-cost GPS has been developed and used elsewhere and in the local commercial sector. Given the well-known role of extension, i.e. information and technology dissemination, the possibility that smallholders adopt GPS animal tracking devices should be evaluated. However, very few studies have made a case for using this technology in curbing stock theft among smallholder farmers. This review therefore addresses the likelihood that smallholder livestock farmers in South Africa adopt GPS animal tracking devices to mitigate the impact of stock theft. Using a semi-systematic and a snowball literature review approach, we consulted and reviewed the relevant literature and official statistics relating to stock theft and smallholder livestock farming. Results from the reviewed literature suggest that the likelihood of GPS animal tracking device adoption by smallholders will depend on a) the awareness about the devices and how they work, b) the acuteness of stock theftfor a farmer and how livestock contributes the farmer's livelihood, and c) the income level, access to mobile phones and risk behaviour of farmers. Our literature findings identify areas for future research and may help agricultural extension personnel with future research topics. <![CDATA[<b>Assessment of socio-economic characteristics that determine farmers' access to agricultural extension services in Eastern Cape, South Africa</b>]]> The study reported on in this paper investigated smallholder farmers' access to extension services. The study sought to distinguish the varying degrees of access to services of smallholder farmers engaged in different production systems, that is, home gardening, field cropping, and livestock production. The study was conducted in Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape, specifically in two communities, namely Ngcabasa and Phathikhala villages. Research activities included a survey of 100 farmers as well as focus group discussions. Employing logistic regression analysis, the study aimed to understand what influences whether or not a smallholder farmer accesses extension. The study also used various types of comparative statistics (T-test) to assess the implications of access to extension support, for instance for production and farm income. The main findings of the study were that 68% of the farming households interviewed in Ngcabasa and 71% of those in Phathikhala had access to extension services. Farmers who had access to extension had more farm income in both enterprises compared to those who had no access to extension services. From the regression analysis, farmers who were more likely to receive extension support appeared to be those who were older, those with less education, and those farming with livestock. <![CDATA[<b>Identification of farmers problems for development intervention programme: a case study facilitated by the political head of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), North West Province</b>]]> The study intended to identify the problems of the farmers and prioritise them for extension intervention. The study was facilitated by the political head of the department within a hundred days of the resumption of duty. Meetings were facilitated through district offices of both the department and municipalities. The identification of farmers' problems focused mainly on production, financial and infrastructural projects. Data was collected through a participatory rural appraisal approach. Farmers were allowed to express problems affecting them in a meeting setup. The extension officers (E.O) captured problems expressed by farmers and classify them according to the questionnaire template developed. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) was used to capture and analyse data. The data was presented to extension officers and management of DARD. The major findings of the study revealed that :(1) Water supply, (2) Availability of land, (3) Livestock theft, (4) production inputs, (5) Machinery, and (6) fencing were major problems of the farmers. The recommendation of the study was that: (a) Problems be resolved according to their importance and (b) preference for implementation of extension intervention programmes to be a bottom-up than a top-down approach. <![CDATA[<b>Why do agricultural co-operatives fail to attract youth and create rural employment? Evidence from a case study of Zanokhanyo in Butterworth, Eastern Cape</b>]]> In the National Development Plan, cooperatives and agriculture development are identified as possible solutions for addressing rural poverty and unemployment, especially among the youth. However, according to most research/literature, agricultural cooperatives fail for many reasons, including but not limited to lack of capital, incompetent management and organizational deficiencies. This study applied a qualitative analysis to the qualitative data using a case study of Zanokhanyo Food Security Cooperative (ZFSC) in Ndabakazi, Butterworth. Interviews with the project members, ex-members, extension officers and youth were conducted through a semi-structured questionnaire administered in IsiXhosa. According to the results, lack of intensive production resulting in very low incomes is one of the reasons why projects such as ZFSC fail to attract young people and provide employment for rural people. Agricultural extension advisory services play a very limited role because of their generalist approach; they lack depth of knowledge about diverse agricultural subject areas. This study recommends that agricultural extension and the farmers' support system be improved by employing or outsourcing specialists to cater to the needs of agricultural cooperatives in order to improve the productivity and income of agricultural cooperatives. <![CDATA[<b>Comprehensive agricultural support programme as the prime mover of agricultural development agenda in South Africa</b>]]> The agricultural support initiatives in South Africa are numerous and are aimed at reducing poverty. One of these progressive support initiatives for agricultural development in South Africa is the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP). The paper examined the various levels of investments in CASP, evaluated the prospects and challenges, and bench marked the national and provincial investment and implications for extension in South Africa. For the purpose of this study, qualitative methods involving the review of government commissioned reports, working papers, key debates on CASP, online sources, books, peer reviewed journals, etc. were used. The study found that prioritisation of resource allocation is essential in supporting long-term government investments for CASP. The gap in knowledge and information regarding the nature and status of CASP in agricultural development cannot be overemphasised. Reflecting on the findings, a coordinated policy environment to allow the support and participation of the private business investors to fill the investment gap in agriculture is recommended. Furthermore, investing in the prime movers of agriculture: agricultural research and development, human capital development, biophysical capital formation, and improved institutions remains distinctive. <![CDATA[<b>Investigating the strength of linkages of plant health institutional and legislative framework in South Africa</b>]]> This paper presents existing linkages within the spheres of government on plant health institutional and legislative framework and further identifies the existing limitations and risks on current existing framework on plant health system. A survey was conducted in South Africa with the relevant scientists from the National Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) formerly known as Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) formerly known as Department of Environmental Affair (DEA) as well as extensionist and agricultural advisors from 7 Provincial Departments of Agriculture (PDAs).. The sample size of the study was 60 government officials from both national and provincial department of agriculture. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect the data. The data was analysed statistically using the one-way frequency and Spearman's Rank correlation coefficients. This paper revealed that there were no formal linkages between the relevant national government and PDAs in terms of legislative and policy prescripts on plant health issues. The study further revealed that there is a need to establish the plant health unit to coordinate plant health matters from the National Plant Protection Organisation of South Africa. On the aspect of biosecurity legislative framework affecting food production and security as well as trade, the study found that there is no cross referencing amongst relevant legislation; therefore, there is a need for harmonisation of relevant legislation. <![CDATA[<b>The impact of backyard gardening on livelihoods of households in Sedibeng District Municipality in Gauteng Province, South Africa</b>]]> The study was conducted to evaluate the impact of backyard gardening on the livelihoods of households in Sedibeng District Municipality in Gauteng Province, South Africa. Data were drawn from 60 household vegetable producers. A structured questionnaire was used to conduct one-on-one interviews to gather data which were then analysed to compare variables and the level of livelihoods of household vegetable production. The results suggested that variables such as gender, household size, marital status and household income influence vegetable production. Women, as the primary caretakers of children, were found to be more involved in vegetable production than men. The vegetable production increased when households were headed by females. Households indicated that the implementation and evaluation of the programme under study, which was successfully undertaken with the assistance of Agricultural Advisors from Gauteng's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD), did impact their livelihoods positively. In conclusion, the study found that household vegetable projects can assist in alleviating poverty, create job opportunities and improve livelihoods of the community of Sedibeng District Municipality. <![CDATA[<b>The important determinants of the adoption behavior: a case study of recommended maize production technologies in Tanzania</b>]]> Numerous technologies have been developed in the agricultural sector to facilitate its contribution to the livelihood of the people. However the adoption of these technologies has been very low or non existence at all. This paper determined the important factors/variables that determine adoption behaviour. A validated, pre-tested structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 113 respondents, equivalent to 5 percent of a population selected to represent maize growers in selected villages of Njombe District. The collected data were analyzed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) and the linear regression model was used to investigate the influence of the study variables. The study findings show both independent and intervening factors investigated determined the adoption behaviour. However in all the technologies investigated the intervening factors influenced highly the adoption behaviour. The results presented provide sufficient evidence in supporting the relevance of intervening variables as the most important determinants of the adoption behaviour. The study suggests that emphasis be put on these variables in agricultural extension programs in order to enhance adoption of technologies by farmers. <![CDATA[<b>Actors' roles and functions in the improved rice varieties innovation system in the eastern zone of Tanzania</b>]]> The objective of the study was to establish the actors' roles and functions in improved rice varieties innovation system in the Eastern Zone of Tanzania. The target population samples for the study comprised of household heads (n = 340) and other key identified actors (n = 99). The research design was a convergent parallel mixed method. Face-to-face interviews, focus group discussions and documentary review were used to collect the data. The findings indicate weak or inability of Agricultural Seed Agency, TANSEED International Ltd, Quality Declared Seed producers in seed multiplication and distribution and agro-dealers were not selling quality rice seeds, thereby resulting in low availability and high prices of the same. Also, the findings show weak participation of farmers, agro- dealers, traders and millers in the functions of guidance of the search and rice varieties development, and the limited number of market actors and weak credit mobilization for farmers to invest in IRVs. The study recommends for the Government of Tanzania to create enabling environment that enhances participation of all key actors in the processes of guidance of the search and rice varieties development; linking farmers with external markets; and enhancing the farmers' access to credit facilities by working on the obstacles hampering farmers from accessing loans from financial institutions. <![CDATA[<b>Information and communication technologies (ICT) towards agricultural development in rural areas: case of smallholder farmers in Umzimvubu local municipality of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa</b>]]> This paper was initiated in order to find the usage and relevance of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) by the smallholder farmers of the Umzimvubu Local Municipality of the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa. A survey questionnaire was then developed to collect the relevant data from randomly selected six villages of Umzimvubu Local Municipality targeting 138 respondents. The questionnaires structure employed both closed and open-ended questions that were administered using a face to face interview, conducted on the sample population in each village. There seems to be a correlation between ICT usage and the economies of scale in agricultural development, where smallholder farmers tend to use less of highly modernized ICT, while commercial large scale farmers use more of the modernized ICT. This disparity amongst farmers is exacerbated in many areas by the differing support systems employed by the public extension services. <![CDATA[<b>Analysis of technical efficiency of small-scale commercial farmers in Vhembe district</b>]]> Small-scale commercial farmers are regarded as the strategic avenue to achieve meaningful development in rural areas of South Africa. The government acknowledged that the inclusion of small-scale commercial farming in its development strategies. The paper aims to measure the efficiency of small-scale commercial farming enterprises in Vhembe District in Limpopo Province. Quantitative data were collected from 217 small-scale commercial farmers using structured questionnaires. The data were standardized using a farming enterprise budget system and analysed using the maximum likelihood and stochastic frontier analysis. The results revealed that aggregate output was positive and significantly influenced by age, education level, farm experience, farm labour, and government grants. However, the projected stochastic production frontier model combined with the efficiency parameters showed that labour and credit computed a negative effect on technical efficiency. The results indicated that the average level of technical efficiency ranged between 20% and 96% with a mean of 54%. This indicates that there is potential to increase production among small-scale commercial farmers in the study area by 46 % through efficient use of existing resources. As such, the local government should provide necessary supports such as formal agriculture training, access to credit and information to increase productivity. <![CDATA[<b>Livestock production and marketing for small emerging farmers in South Africa and Kenya: comparative lessons</b>]]> Poor production methods and limited market access are some of the challenges that prevent small African farmers from developing. In cattle farming, poor grazing practices and a lack of vaccination produce poor quality animals. Limited information, poor infrastructure, cultural issues and other factors, lead to low participation levels of these farmers in livestock markets. This study explored the prevalence of these challenges in two geographical locations of two African countries (South Africa and Kenya) with the intention to identify possible cross lessons for developing small rural farmers. Ethnographic and case study methods were used to collect and analyse data in two provinces (one in each country) where cattle farming by small rural farmers is predominant. From the two countries, three cases of distinguishable cattle production and marketing challenges were identified. Firstly, rural South African (SA) small farmers are generally faced with high production and marketing challenges, which prevent them from developing into successful commercial farmers. Secondly, Kenyan small rural farmers face similar production challenges as those faced by their SA counterparts, but perform better at marketing their animals, although they still face a lot of structural marketing issues, with brokers controlling the market to the disadvantage of farmers. Thirdly, the study identified a case of rural Black SA farmers who are being assisted through a research project in the Eastern Cape Province that embraces a more holistic environmental approach to rural development to overcome most production and marketing challenges. Given the successes of the holistic view, this study concludes that the environmental approach presents the best case lessons for replication across SA in developing small African farmers. It is argued that the replication of lessons across SA would require central coordination by a government agency. The national agricultural extension office (one of whose mandates is to work directly with farmers for their development) would be most appropriate for this coordination role.