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South African Journal of Agricultural Extension

On-line version ISSN 2413-3221
Print version ISSN 0301-603X

Abstract

COCKBURN, J. J et al. Exploring the role of sugarcane in small-scale farmers' livelihoods in the Noodsberg area, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. S Afr. Jnl. Agric. Ext. [online]. 2014, vol.42, n.1, pp.80-97. ISSN 2413-3221.

Participatory, mixed-methods research was conducted to study the role of sugarcane in small-scale sugarcane farmers' livelihoods in the Noodsberg area, KwaZulu-Natal. Thirty-five farmers were visited at their homes and data was collected through semi-structured interviews, participatory sketch mapping, matrix scoring activities and informal field-based discussions. Results indicated that sugarcane was a key livelihood resource providing employment and income, and it generated more income than any other single agricultural enterprise. It was considered the most important crop in most households, even though it was grown within a diverse agricultural system including maize, beans, taro (amadumbe) and potatoes. Considering the important role of sugarcane as a cash crop in farmers' livelihoods, further development of land to sugarcane in the Noodsberg area will continue to reduce poverty and improve the livelihoods of farmers.

Keywords : farming systems; food security; poverty; rural development; small-scale growers; sugarcane.

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