Doctoral Degrees (Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Rural Development and Extension)

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Development of an agricultural food enterprise model in rural towns in Vhembe district, Limpopo province, South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2023) Mahopo, Tjale Cloupas; Nesamvuni, C. N.; Van Niekerk, J. V.; Nesamvuni, A. E.
    Introduction: The street food enterprise underwrites food security by bringing food to local communities. It is a growing source of employment and income for economically challenged households. Yet, it continues to face challenges such as lack of support from various stakeholders. This study aimed to develop an agricultural food enterprise model of competitiveness for the street food enterprise in rural towns in the Vhembe District of the Limpopo Province in South Africa. Methods: A cross-sectional study design and mixed methods approach were used. Five hundred and eleven (511) street vendors of ready-to-eat foods participated in the study. Convenient sampling was done in three rural Vhembe District towns. Quantitatively, a structured questionnaire was used to measure their socio-economic and operational characteristics, and the dietary diversity of the foods sold. A convenient sampling was further used to sample 55 participants for a qualitative study. A six-step value chain analysis and Porter's Diamond Model of Competitiveness components were used as a guiding framework. In-depth interviews were used to explore the perceived challenges and proposed solutions. Descriptive statistical analysis, thematic qualitative analysis, and value chain analysis using components of Porter's Diamond Model were applied across the study. A SWOT analysis was performed in the final step to diagnose the value chain's details and inform the development of the street food model. Results: The vendors were mainly South African women aged 35-54 years who were primarily motivated into the enterprise by unemployment and financial challenges. Their businesses contributed about 82% of their household income. The foods they sold had poor diversity, with 70% comprising fewer than five food groups and starchy staples, a common food group. The value chain is short with poor infrastructure. It includes purchasing, storage, transportation, production, and consumption. The main actors involved are input suppliers (formal and informal traders), transporters, local authorities, and customers. The vendors perceived four main factor conditions of Production, Chance condition (new inventions and technologies, shifts in the financial market, decisions of foreign governments, and wars), Role of government, and Related and supporting industries as the conditions inhibiting the competitiveness of the street food enterprise. Poor government support, the cost of water, and costly finance were critical subcomponents. Thus, the result of the study informs a Diamond Model of Competitiveness with a partially different structure from that of Porter's Diamond Model. The results suggest that the factor conditions that explain the competitiveness of an informal survivalist enterprise like street food vending are prioritised differently than when used to explain the competitiveness of a formal organisation. Recommendations: Government needs to adopt a collaborative approach to the transformation of street vendors, while protecting them from the impact of factors that inhibit their competitive performance. Key strategies include access to water, short-term finance solutions, improved infrastructure, and provision of relevant training.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The impact of empowering women farmers towards sustainable agriculture in the Gauteng province of South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2022) Thobejane, Mamatime Kholofelo; Swanepoel, J. W.; Van Niekerk, J. A.
    Despite the South African Constitution emphasising values and gender equality; most women continue to face barriers and commercial restrictions that limit their participation in the mainstream economy. As a result, methods must be devised by the sector to determine whether the policies and strategies they invested in for gender mainstreaming, which were intended to build more equitable, empowering, sustainable and inclusive societies, are effective and producing the desired results. Due to a lack of gender-disaggregated data, women's roles in agriculture and, thus, their opportunities and constraints need to be better understood. This study aimed to quantify the impact of women's empowerment on sustainable agriculture. Even though the Department of Agriculture has been implementing the women empowerment project since 1999, the literature findings show that the impact of agriculture on empowering women in the sector cannot be quantified. The sector's eligibility to request assistance is gender neutral. Descriptive research methodology was used for this study, and quantitative data were collected in the MS Excel package and statistically analysed using the Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) and Agricultural Integrated Survey (AGRIS). Additionally, the study applied a Logical Framework Analysis (LFA) for problem analysis and translating the causes and effects of the problems that women farmers face into objectives and future strategies. Respondents were farmers who share a common domain category of being classified as commercial farmers. Only those farmers who were classified as commercial farmers who qualified for the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD's) commercialisation programme and benefited from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Female Entrepreneur Awards (DAFF FEA) programme were eligible to participate in the study. Except for the time domain, access to, and decisions about credit indicators, this study found that sufficiency in the production, leadership, assets, income, and time usage categories was more closely associated with empowerment than demographic variables. Within this study, 91% of women and 81% of men reported feeling empowered. The domain in the sample that contributes the most to women's disempowerment, according to the deconstruction of the disempowerment measure, is time. The areas of empowerment that contribute the most to male disempowerment are time (workload) and resources (access to and credit decisions). Under the sub-indicators biodiversity, profitability, and resilience, female and male participants in Gauteng are unsustainable on the environmental and economic dimensions. Furthermore, the study's findings evaluated the practitioners' willingness to examine and discuss gender issues. The findings revealed that 44% of practitioners have a high willingness to explore gender issues and 86% of practitioners were unable to discuss gender issues. This study also proposed developing a gender policy as a starting point to direct the sector to incorporate the gender dimension into pertinent policies and strategies rather than addressing gender through a separate and isolated process. The inclusion of gender budgeting and sex-disaggregated data administration must be referenced in this policy, which serves as the guiding principle for all programmes, initiatives, and action plans. Effective collection and analysis of gender-disaggregated data are critical to ensuring women are empowered to participate in all aspects of the economy. By doing so, we improve our chances of strengthening our country's economy and advancing the two most pressing global goals of equity and sustainability.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The sustainability of new generation future commercial farmers in South Africa, a case study done in the North-West Province of South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2022-11) Venter, Phillip; Van Niekerk, Johan; Van der Watt, Elmarie
    Emerging farmers in South Africa face numerous challenges that hinder their ability to engage in environmentally-, economically-, and socially sustainable agricultural practices. While certain practices have been proven to lead to greater sustainability in farming, there is a shortage of literature on the extent to which emerging farmers in South Africa implement these practices. The study aimed to explore further the problems emerging farmers face in South Africa hampering their sustainability and to determine the extent to which they engage in mitigating practices. Furthermore, the study aimed to give actionable recommendations to emerging farmers on how they can increase their sustainability by obtaining inputs from industry experts and commercial farmers on how emerging farmers can become sustainable commercial farmers. In this study, the emerging farmers that progressed to become sustainable commercial farmers are referred to as New Generation Future Commercial Farmers (NGFCFs). The study used a mixed-methods research approach, that included qualitative and quantitative research techniques. The quantitative component included, closed-ended questionnaires to determine factors that influence the sustainability of emerging farmers. These questionnaires were distributed to a group of New Generation Future Commercial Farmers and commercial farmers growing dry beans for the Zamukele and Schoeman Boerdery projects in the North-West Province of South Africa. The questionnaires comprised four sections measuring demographic and background information, economic-, environmental-, and social sustainability. Participants were asked to reply to the statements on a Likert scale of 1 to 5, where 1 meant strongly disagreed and 5 meant strongly agreed. An adapted Logical Framework Analysis (LFA) tool was used for the qualitative component to collect qualitative data from industry experts to determine what they believe is needed to improve emerging farmers’ economic-, environmental-, and social sustainability. The study concluded that NGFCFs would be profitable, environmentally sound, and socially sustainable by applying sustainable agricultural principles. However, there are important sustainability issues NGFCFs need to address to improve their sustainability. The iii recommendations to improve their sustainability includes making use of contract farming options like off-take agreements, taking part in private and public partnerships, addressing the lack of not owning essential machinery and contractors not harvesting at the ideal time, taking out crop insurance, being proactive in their crop protection approach, addressing operational cost financing, making use of qualified people to advise on sustainable agricultural practices, discarding of empty crop protection containers correctly, following the instructions on crop protection containers, making use of conservation agriculture and precision agricultural techniques, having a succession plan in place, supporting other local businesses in their local community, improving their knowledge base on financial and business management, improving their knowledge of conservation tillage practices and soil fertility management, and attending farmers days and experimental plots on sustainable agricultural practices and technology. A Model (NGFCFs Model) was developed to guide all role players on how to help emerging farmers progress to become sustainable commercial farmers, including the role agribusiness partners and government plays in this process. The NGFCFs Model will focus on emerging farmers (producers) growing row crops (produce) under an off-take agreement (agribusiness partner) and will also consider the government (policy maker and service provider). The NGFCFs Model is driven by the off-taker, providing an off-take agreement to a group of already successful emerging farmers growing row crops under the off-take agreement. The NGFCFs Model will help create sustainable NGFCFs, which is essential to achieve sustainable food production, according to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in August 2015 (United Nations, 2015). Sustainable food production by NGFCFs will be critical in supporting the needs of the present and future generations. Sustainable NGFCFs will also help the government achieve its National Development Plan for agriculture by playing an important role in rural economic development and natural resource management and contributing significantly to household food security and improved nutrition (National Planning Commission of South Africa (NDP), 2012).
  • ItemOpen Access
    Analysing urban household food security in the Cape Town Metropole of South Africa, with reference to the role of urban agriculture
    (University of the Free State, 2017-08) Swanepoel, Jan Willem; Van Niekerk, J. A.; Van Rooyen, C. J.; D’Haese, L.
    English: Exceptional rural-urban migration took place into the Cape Town Metropolitan area over the past years and is continuing, with the bulk of these migrants residing in the informal settlement areas. The rate of urbanisation is however not concurrent with the rate of economic growth and as a result, the rates of urban poverty is worsening. Food insecurity is a direct result of urban poverty, causing urban populations to depend on urban food production. Currently, measurements for food security are inconsistent and it is unclear whether urban agriculture systems are sustainable and whether it contributes to the general household food security, albeit it is generally accepted that households engaged in urban agriculture should experience an improved food security status. Empirical research regarding the actual contribution of urban agriculture to household food security may be limited as well as lacking in consistency. Against this setting, it was important to analyse urban household food security in the informal settlement areas of the Cape Town Metropole in South Africa, with focus on the contribution of urban agriculture towards alleviating food insecurity. The objectives to determine the required outcomes were: • The measurement of the level of urban household food security of urban farmers and non-farmers; • Factors that affect urban household food insecurity were identified; • The contribution of urban agriculture to food security was determined; • An optimal grouping of observations by utilising the identified critical factors that address household food insecurity were identified; and • Policy recommendations were made for government on the alleviation of urban food security by using the outcomes of the above analysis. The above objectives were achieved by firstly consulting literature to anchor the application into theory and report on past research conducted on the problem. The global and South African trends of food security and urban agriculture were placed in perspective together with the measuring of livelihood in an urban context. Data collection took place in six informal settlement areas of the Cape Town Metropole, included both farming households and non-farming households. Very high levels of food insecurity were observed in all dimensions of food security in the informal settlement areas of the Cape Town Metropole. When looking at access to food, the household food insecurity access scale (HFIAS) indicated that 78% of households are severely food insecure and just more than 50% reported an income level above the US$ 2 per capita per day. Households reported hunger especially during June and July, and November and December respectively. This is an indication of food unavailability during these months. Significant differences were observed between the areas in terms of the level of food security, but no significant difference in food security between farming and non-farming households was observed. The households surveyed consisted of 99 male headed and 121 female-headed households with more males involved in urban agriculture. The average household comprised of 4.3 members. The factor analysis showed that the expenditure component accounts for 20.4% of variance and is characterised by factors relating to expenditure on food. The expenditure component is comprised by the share of food expenditure on income, the total value of food consumed and the household diet diversity score. The groups of food purchased (diversity) are dependent on the amount of purchase power available. Other components identified were the socio-economic indicators component, food security indicators component, urban farming component and geographical and market components. The results presented in the study indicated that households engaged in urban agriculture are benefiting in terms of diet diversity, income and accessibility due to their involvement in this activity. However, there was no indication of a significant positive contribution of urban agriculture towards food security. Three homogeneous clusters were characterised into a severely food insecure cluster, a moderately food insecure cluster and food secure cluster. Different food security measurement indicators, demographic indicators, livelihood indicators relating to income, production factors and the level of education were included in the analysis. These clusters of homogenous groups with similar proportions for different characteristics may in turn serve as invaluable information for decision makers to identify destitute areas, make focused decisions and take specific supporting action. Policy recommendations were made to enhance the effectivity of the current policy and contribute to the main goal of the National Food and Nutrition Security Policy i.e. to ensure that all the dimensions of food security are met. This include the availability, accessibility and affordability of safe and nutritional food at national and household levels.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Integrating micro-flood irrigation with in-field rainwater harvesting
    (University of the Free State, 2012-02) Mavimbela, Sabelo Sicelo Wesley; Van Rensburg, L. D.
    The mam aim of the study was to integrate micro-flood irrigation (MFI) with in-field rainwater harvesting (IRWH). The MFI is a short furrow irrigation system that relies on small inflow rates to mitigate the effect of dry spells in crop fields. The IRWH is an in situ based rainwater harvesting technique that harvests rainfall in the form of runoff between crop rows and then concentrates it in the basin area. Given the increased rainfall variability and evaporation (Ev) in the semi arid areas of the central Free State Province of South Africa, the merging of these two technologies is hypothesized to be able to stabilize soil water storage during rainfall and dry spell periods in areas with access to limited irrigation water. The developments in the study were divided into three phases. The first phase dealt with characterization of pedological and hydraulic properties of the soils earmarked for IRWH at the University of the Free State, 20 Km, south of Bloemfontein. These soils were represented by the Tukulu, Sepane and Swartland soil types with the first two forms also referred as Cutanic Luvisols and the latter as Cutanic Cambisols of the Reference Soil Group. These soils were similar only in the orthic A- horizon. The Tukulu had developed structure only in the prismatic C-horizon and for the Sepane it was in the pedocutanic B- and prismatic Chorizons. The Swartland had a cambic structure in the pedocutanic B-horizon. Corresponding hydraulic properties, soil water characteristic curve (SWCC) and hydraulic conductivity for saturated (Ks) and unsaturated conditions (K-8) were determined using in situ and laboratory procedures for internal drainage (ID) and evaporation (Ev) conditions. Parametric models were used to describe SWCC and to predict K-8 relationships. Model descriptions of SWCC were satisfactory. Predictions of K-8 were only accurate at near saturation, but HYDRUS-ID optimization program had better predictions. Matric suction gradients corresponding to the draining soil profile were found to fall within the matric suction range of 0 to -10 kPa. Drainage rate of 0.001 mm hour" corresponded to drainage upper limit (DUL) and deep drainage (DD) losses proportional to 1 % of annual rainfall over the fallow period. The Tukulu, Sepane and Swartland soil types had respectively total DD losses of 21, 20 and 52 mm and evaporation losses of 43, 51 and 70 mm. The Ks corresponding to the C-horizons of these soils was 9.6, 1 and 77 mm hour". During ID and Ev the K-8 functions especially for horizons with a clay content range of 26 to 48 % dropped by several orders of magnitudes, while SWC changed with a narrow margin. At the evaporating surface matric suction of magni tude greater than -1500 kPa were approximated. The second phase compared four inflow rates (20,40, 80 and 160 L min-I) based on surface and subsurface irrigation characteristics carried out on the Tukulu soil due its low DD and Ev losses. A single irrigation on a 90 m closed ended furrow and measurements taken at every 10 m furrow distance for advance and opportunity times, stream flow depth, and SWC before and after the irrigation. Infiltrated depths predictions from HYDRUS-2D software were satisfactory from all inflow rates. Distribution uniformity (DU) was higher (≥ 0.89) at 30 m furrow distance from all inflow rates and the smaller inflow rate much easier to handle. Vertical redistribution was characterized at each of the 10 m furrow distance covered with a 2 m x 2 m polythene sheet to prevent Ev. Over the 455 hours of redistribution agreement between measured and predicted SWC from HYDRUS-2D software varied with depth and furrow length. Low vertical redistribution (Vz) from all inflow rates was attributed to the restrictive prismatic C-horizon. Higher rates of Vz were observed within the 0-600 mm profile domain for the small inflow rates and at 0-850 mm for the large inflow rates. The last phase dealt with the integration of MFI with IRWH, carried out on a 3 x 3 split plot factorial with four blocks in a complete randomized design experiment. Each plot had five 30 m long furrows and a pair of neutron access tubes installed in each plot at the centre of the basin and runoff area. The main treatments were runoff strip width (RSW; 1 m, 2 m and 3 m) and water regime (WR): dryland (DL), supplemental (SPI) and full irrigation (FI). No till and basin tillage was used to prepare the RSW and the 1 m standard basin area (BA). The BA was further smoothed with a ridger for uniform distribution of the advance stream flow. A 120 day maturing maize variety was used. A record of rainfall and SWC was kept. The 40 L min-I inflow rate for 15 minutes irrigation times on a fixed schedule for full and supplemental irrigation, provided by the BEW AB+ irrigation software was used. A soil water balance (SWB) procedure was developed to evaluate the effect of the RSW and WR treatments on the gains and losses in soil water storage. Evapo-transpiration (ET) was partitioned into Ev and transpiration (T) by a ~-parameter based on plant canopy area. Findings showed that SWB components were affected by the main effect from the RSW and WR. The 1 m RSW had the total biomass and grain yields that were respectively 21 % and 45 % higher than the 2 m RSW, and 35 % and 89 % higher than the 3 m RSW. Total biomass and grain yields from full and supplemental irrigation were 200 % and 76 % higher than the DL. Though tested for a single season the combination of 1 m RSW and full irrigation produced optimum crop yields and WUE for the newly merged MFI-IRWH water management system and is ready to be used by small scale farmers who have access to irrigation water.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Socio-economic impact of agricultural and agro-processing co-operatives on food security and incomes in Limpopo Province, South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2016-09) Dagada, Maanda Caiphus; Nesamvuni, A. E.; Stroebel, A.; Van Rooyen, C. J.
    English: Food security is central to the policy of the new democratic government in South Africa. An estimated 70 percent of rural populations are classed as poor with most of them still locked into poverty and subsistence farming. However, there is a growing realization and acceptance that agricultural and processing co-operatives can be both productive and efficient at alleviating poverty through a food security strategy. Most smallholder farmers have established co-operatives to help themselves. Co-operatives‘ policies and strategies are currently being put in place to redress past neglect of smallholder farmers, who are predominately black in Limpopo Province. The rural traditional system is dependent on rural institutions for a livelihood. Agricultural and processing co-operatives are central to the supply of farm inputs, farm tillage, marketing, product value adding and provision of much needed finance. However, their sustainability beyond the period they have government funding is questionable. The co-operative enterprise plays a major role in food production. Records show that in 1993 to 1994, 180 million people were members of 330 000 agricultural co-operatives in 47 countries. Also, in developing countries co-operative membership is high. In Ivory Coast 827 000 small farmers are members, in Nicaragua 78% of maize and 59% of beans are marketed by co-operatives. Present trade, marketing, and institutional policies in South Africa make limited provision for the unique interests of emerging small-scale farmers. Furthermore, the current institutions involved in promoting market access are not well co-ordinated. Co-operatives have direct linkage with extension services. The extension services play a vital role on the development of co-operatives. It was noted that where there is strong link between co-operatives and extension, those co-operatives are still surviving and able to provide enough food in their families. Market access is another factor that determine the sustainability of the co-operative and its ability to have significant potential to contribute to the reduction of poverty and are better able to mobilise wide participation and can reduce costs, enhance incomes and improve the viability of business activities. The co-operative model which was developed and practiced by LADEP showed how co-operatives can be developed and be sustainable even in the rural province of Limpopo. As part of the model, production of market oriented crops could be encouraged via contract production, whereby processors provide financial, technical and marketing services to smallholders. To make the plan viable and to ensure beneficiation throughout the value chain, co-operatives should have a stake at all levels of the value chain. This can possibly be done by establishing primary, secondary and tertiary co-operatives. It is difficult for smallholders to penetrate the monopoly of market fraternity individually - clubbing together as co-operatives can give them enough bargaining power and solve the economics of scale challenge. This way they can enhance and improve their production which, will resulted in poverty reduction and increase income.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Development of a water management decision model for Limpopo Province, South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2012-07) Tshikolomo, Khathutshelo Alfred; Nesamvuni, A. E.; Walker, S.; Stroebel, A.
    The study was conducted in the Limpopo Province with a focus on the Limpopo and Luvuvhu- Letaba Water Management Areas. The main issues investigated were (1) water resources, mainly runoff and storage capacity of the target Water Management Areas and municipalities, and the water gain and loss of the Middle Letaba Dam, (2) water management issues, mainly perceptions of municipal water managers on the water resource and its uses, and their perceptions on stakeholder participation, and (3) household water supply and requirement. A water management decision model was proposed based on the results of the investigations. The results of the investigations revealed that: (1) The Limpopo WMA has a MAR of 611.4 million m3 for possible development of new dams compared to only 365.2 million m3 for the Luvuvhu-Letaba WMA, and related results were recorded for municipalities in these WMAs. The storage volumes of the Middle Letaba Dam were very small compared to design capacity; (2) The municipal water managers lacked knowledge on water resources and were relatively more knowledgeable on water use. Water management decisions were made by government based stakeholders while community based stakeholders had little influence on water management decisions; (3) There was a lack of access to safe water sources, only half (50.1%) of households obtained water from street taps. The quantity of water fetched ranged from 25 to more than 200 litres per household per day and the amount fetched was more for households located near the water sources. As a result of scarcity, water was mostly used for basic activities such as drinking, preparing food and bathing. Half (51. 7%) of the households fetched less water than the 25 litres per capita per day supply standard which itself did not meet the average requirement of 37.5 litres per capita per day; and (4) A water management decision model was proposed based on the framework of the Congruence Model. The proposed model stated the main challenges faced by the water sector in the study area and assessed the capacity of the service organisations to address them by analysing the congruence between the challenges and the capacity. All assessed water service organisations only had moderate capacity to address the challenges. The lack of filling of some posts was the most significant constraint to the effectiveness of the organisations. It is therefore recommended that: (1) The Limpopo WMA be the focus for possible construction of new dams, especially the Mogalakwena, Lephalale and Mokoio catchments in the WMA as they showed to have more available mean annual runoff for possible development of new dams. Although the Luvuvhu-Letaba WMA was shown to be well developed in terms of storage dams, the Mutale Catchment had more available mean annual runoff for possible development of new dams. Regular investigations of runoff and dam storage capacity should be conducted as the current status will change due to changing rainfall patterns and dam siltation. Water should be transferred to the Middle Letaba Dam from other catchments in order to maintain this dam at a full level and consequently to improve the supply of the resource to planned areas; (2). Municipal water managers should be trained on water resources and to a lesser extent on resource uses for them to make relevant decisions on the management and use of the resource. Community based stakeholders should be involved in water management decisions and should be capacitated to be reliable sources of water information; (3) The Department of Water Affairs should reconsider the 25 litres per capita per day as a supply standard as it does not suffice for the average requirement of 37.5 litres per capita per day proposed in this study. (4) Guided by the proposed water management decision model, service organisations should improve their capacity to address water sector problems.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Redefining the role of the extension agent in commercializing South African agriculture: an Eastern Cape case study
    (University of the Free State, 2012-02) Van Niekerk, Johan Adam; Van Rooyen, Johan; Swanepoel, Frans; Stroebel, Aldo
    English: Agriculture and rural development in the Eastern Cape, and in South Africa, are in vital need of revitalization; especially since the people of the communal areas of the Province are often referred to as the poorest of the poor. Organizations, with specific reference to the Eastern Cape's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, use agricultural extension as a vehicle for developing agriculture and the rural areas. Presently, the Department uses the Farming Systems Research and Extension (FSR/E) model for this purpose. The objectives for this thesis are to determine: • if this extension model presently used is effective, as well as to determine how to strengthen this model; • the perceptions of extension workers and agricultural researchers on factors supporting effective agricultural extension; • the specific needs of small-scale farmers and how they foresee themselves to become more commercially orientated; • the thoughts of practicing extension workers on the public extension services' strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and what they believe needs to be done to make the extension service more efficient and effective; • the thoughts of actors from the agricultural support services - namely actors from agribusinesses and agricultural economists - on what role they see the public extension service should play and the steps that the extension service should take in order to be more effective; and • a new extension model for the Eastern Cape will be determined. This was achieved by consulting relevant literature sources, including the experts in the field on the present developments in extension, as well as using a questionnaire to determine the perceptions of the extension workers and agricultural researchers, a Logical Framework Analysis was used to determine the perceptions the small-scale farmers faced as well as the ways that they believed would solve their problems. Another two Logical Framework Analysis wereused to determine the thoughts of practicing extension workers and actors from the agricultural support services on what they believed is needed to strengthen the extension organization. The results from the study revealed information on global extension developments: perceptions of extension workers and researchers; the actual needs of a rural community and their vision of how to become more commercially orientated; the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the public extension service as viewed by the province's extension workers; the views of the extension workers concerning the problems that they face and ways to solve these problems; the views of the actors from agribusinesses and agricultural economists - collectively known as the agricultural support services - on the problems they have with the public extension service, the envisaged role that they see for the extension service and their envisaged way forward for the extension service in the province; a matrix of the factors linked to effective extension and the actors involved in strengthening these factors; and proposed a new and strengthened extension model. This new model is a decentralized, market-orientated extension model, which incorporate all actors within the agricultural environment and the actual needs of farmers. Involvement of various actors in strengthening the public extension service and the extension workers' skills was also described and is included in the model.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A livestock production systems study amongst resource-poor livestock owners in the Vhembe District of Limpopo Province
    (University of the Free State, 2006-09) Nthakheni, Nkhangweni David; Nesamvuni, A. E.; Swanepoel, F. J. C.; Stoebel, A.
    Livestock farming practices amongst smallholder black farmers are invariably described and characterised to make various conclusions and predictions. A desire emerged in me to conduct a study and to learn and develop an understanding about livestock production systems with the intention of formulating intervention initiatives. The first encounter with farmers of the study area was not easy, it was during the time when government withdrew from assisting stock farmers with dip chemicals and encouraging them to form dip-tank committees and buy dip with their own money. As a Government official I had to make a contribution in explaining the reasons behind the decision. Being their neighbour, being in a similar situation and also keeping a few heads of cattle myself, helped them to notice that they are not alone. There were however hard liners whom I managed to convince that, when the study commenced, they assisted with the logistics of access to the study area. Other arrangements were facilitated by the officials of the Department of Agriculture, traditional leaders and community based organisations who gave permission for the study to be conducted. Another problem was the difficulty of studying whilst simultaneously being an employee and manning various responsibilities. There were times when I felt that the pressure was unbearable and had to cope with the stress associated with work and study fatigue. This thesis is about the study conducted amongst smallholder livestock owners. Livestock farming systems amongst resource-poor farmers is more complex than we imagine. I have been confused and embarrassed at my limited understanding. Now I am proud of the times when I wrestled with the difficulties to gather knowledge. By having the humility to admit that I have little knowledge and being confused, I was spurred on even if it was like groping in the darkness.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Challenges facing communal farmers to improve cattle production and marketing systems in Namibia: case study from Omaheke region
    (University of the Free State, 2011-01) Hangara, Gabriel Ngungaa; Groenewald, Izak B.; Teweldemedhin, Mogos Y.; Conroy, Andrew B.
    The objective of the study was to examine the efficiency and constraints of cattle managerial practices and marketing systems in the four communal areas of the Omaheke region. The specific objectives of the study were to identify the most crucial managerial aspects having a negative effect on sustainable cattle production; to examine the sustainability of cattle supply chain management from farmer to processor; to examine the accessibility of market information to farmers and to identify the factors influencing the supply of cattle to market. The study was conducted in four communal areas, namely Aminius, Epukiro, Otjinene and Otjombinde of the Omaheke region in Namibia during 2008 and 2009. Questionnaires were developed and administered to 670 communal farmers and key informants of 3 farmers' associations, 4 farmers' co-operatives, a cattle auctioneer and beef processor. Data from questionnaires were entered into MS Excel spreadsheet and descriptive results analysis was done using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). In terms of examining the factors influencing the supply of cattle to market, Weighted Least Square (WLS) was used. The main constraints identified in the production system were incorrect bull:cow ratio (1 :38), low calving percentage and cattle mortalities and losses. The main causes of cattle mortalities and losses in the communal areas are drought, diseases, straying and theft, with a farmer losing an average of ten cattle per year. The managerial practices found to negate sustainable cattle production are weaning practices and record keeping. Communal cattle farmers are not utilising the available agricultural support services and constraints identified in the production system and shortcomings found in the managerial practices could be addresed if farmers visited the extension and veterinary offices for advice. In terms of marketing, the farmers were found to not be satisfied with the existing market and satisfaction levels of farmers differed significantly (p<0.05). The majority of farmers do not know the quality criteria used by buyers when determining prices for cattle classes and grades (p<0.05). The accessibility to market information was found not to be a constraint. The constraints facing the communal cattle farmers include low prices offered for cattle, buyers' late arrival or no show, slow payment process and buyers running out of cash, whereas those found to be facing auctioneers and buyers operating in communal areas include buying of poor quality cattle, and few number of cattle offer for sale. The lack of essential and safe facilities at market outlets was expressed as a constraint to cattle farmers, auctioneers and buyers in the study areas. The factors found to have an influence (p
  • ItemOpen Access
    The sustainability of emerging cane growers through youth involvement: a case study of the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2016) Ntshangase, Wellington Mfanafuthi; Zwane, E. M.; Van Niekerk, J. A.
    𝑬𝒏𝒈𝒍𝒊𝒔𝒉 Agriculture is usually purported as one of the main solutions to the socio-economic problems besetting the rural areas. It is one of the main economic drivers in the rural areas of South Africa. The advantage of agriculture over other sectors is that it is labour-intensive and this is critical in a country such as South Africa that has a high level of unemployment. However, the main concern is that the current farmers are an ageing population and there seems to be reluctance on the part of the youth to follow agriculture as a career. There has also been a noticeable increase of youth migration to the cities in search of opportunities outside of agriculture. This study, which was conducted in the sugar industry, focused on the sustainability of cane production through youth involvement. The youth, aged between 14 and 35 years and whose parents are emerging cane growers (ECGs) were the main respondents in this study. In the follow-up focus group discussions the ECGs also participated. The ECG category refers to the cane growers who were previously disadvantaged (in the South African political and economic contexts) and includes small-scale growers and land-reform growers. According to SASA (the South African Sugar Association) there are approximately 22,500 registered sugarcane growers who annually produce on average 19 million tons of sugarcane in 14 mill-supply areas. This figure includes about 21,000 small-scale growers and 323 black emerging farmers. In the context of this study the term ECG refers to both SSGs (small-scale growers) and black emerging farmers (who are mainly referred to as LRGs – land reform growers – in the study). This study arose as a result of concerns regarding the relative lack of participation by young people in cane farming. This is not a study about youth in general but a specific study about young people whose parents or relatives are ECGs. There is a need to understand the seriousness of the challenges facing the sugar industry and strive to address them. One of these challenges is the drastic decline in cane production and there have been several efforts by the different role players aimed at remedying the situation. Millions of rands have been injected into the sugar industry to alleviate this problem. The researcher is of the view that these efforts will not lead to sustainable cane production if young people are not prepared to succeed their parents and become involved in cane farming. Contrary to popular beliefs relating to the youth’s negative perceptions and attitudes towards agriculture, the study found that young people whose parents are ECGs are prepared to succeed their parents as farmers. It showed that the youth are already involved in farming operations. They, however, would like to have their own farms instead of waiting for an inheritance. It also found a high level of involvement amongst these young people. The expected income was the main motivator for the young people to choose agriculture over other careers. The study’s recommendations focused on the need to ensure that the youth are able to own or lease land, on promotion of agriculture to youth from an early age, on access to funding for youth agripreneurs, and on providing support related to education and training for those choosing agriculture. ___________________________________________________________________
  • ItemOpen Access
    The role of the non-farm sector in rural development in Lesotho
    (University of the Free State, 2014) Rantšo, Tšepiso Augustinus; Marais, J. G. L.
    It is stated in this research report that even though rural development policies and programmes in many developing countries focus on improving agricultural productivity to ensure food security, little attention has hitherto been paid to improving the rural non-farm sector as an alternative or complementary rural development strategy. Lesotho has been no exception in this regard. For instance, the research findings indicate that although rural development in Lesotho has improved agriculture, productivity in agriculture has in recent decades been in decline because of physical and economic factors. The rural non-farm sector has not been prioritised in rural development in Lesotho. This is the first study in Lesotho to look into the role played by the non-farm sector in rural development as regards the different sectors, namely manufacturing, trade/commerce and service. The thesis firstly scrutinises the changing paradigms of rural development in developing countries. After the Second World War, rural development in developing countries started to improve agricultural production through the adoption of Green Revolution technologies. Evidence from the research reveals that developing countries are characterised by poverty, unemployment, food insecurity and low standards of living and that modernisation in agriculture has aimed to increase food production. The research findings further indicate that though rural non-farm enterprises depend on agriculture for the supply of raw materials, the Green Revolution packages did not explicitly state that agricultural surplus would be used as raw materials in rural non-farm enterprises. What they did emphasise was the idea of ensuring food security. This was accomplished through using different policies and programmes. Most prominent was the Integrated Rural Development, which applied the integrated approach to rural development. At that point the idea of establishing/improving a rural non-farm sector came into being, but the focus was on agro-industries and not on small-scale enterprises. It can thus be said that scant attention was devoted to the rural non-farm sector in developing countries in past decades. The research findings have revealed the rural non-farm sector to have been an alternative or complementary strategy with a view to ensuring momentum in and recognition for agriculture in developing countries in the late 1980s and early 1990s during the adoption of Structural Adjustment Programmes and macroeconomic reforms. The research findings further indicate that Structural Adjustment Programmes advocated retrenchment in the public sector and that this caused unemployment and poverty. The research findings moreover show that the reduction of government subsidies, especially in agriculture ‒ as a specific condition of Structural Adjustment Programmes ‒ caused agriculture to decline, which in turn resulted in food insecurity in many countries. Therefore, as a response to escalating poverty, increasing unemployment and food insecurity, many people participated in non-farm activities so as to make a living. During the period of rural-urban linkages, the establishment of non-farm enterprises gained momentum in developing countries in the 1990s. Evidence shows that rural-urban linkages established good communication networks between urban and rural areas, which served to facilitate trade between rural and urban areas. Research on Lesotho indicates that many people lost jobs in the public sector when Structural Adjustment Programmes were adopted in 1991, and which resulted in unemployment, poverty and food insecurity. Unemployment in Lesotho was further aggravated by retrenchment of Basotho males on the South African goldmines from the early 1990s onwards. In this regard, those families dependent on migrant labourer remittances as a source of livelihood faced food insecurity. However, in order to make a living, many former mineworkers used the retrenchment packages as start-up capital towards the establishment of non-farm enterprises. As a result, the non-farm sector created employment opportunities for the former Basotho mine workers. The research findings moreover indicate that, subsequent to the decline in agricultural production and the loss of jobs in the South African goldmines, rural non-farm incomes have, for many people, become the main livelihood sources for many people. Although rural non-farm enterprises contribute to rural development by creating incomes, employment and ensuring food security, there are various factors that affect the performance of non-farm enterprises: demographic factors and factors related to location, business linkages, competition and government support. For instance, the research findings reveal that education levels have a bearing on the performance of the non-farm enterprises, so much so that the performance of non-farm enterprises owned by entrepreneurs with tertiary education is better than that of enterprises owned by people with low levels of education. Even though enterprises owned by people with tertiary education tend to perform better, the contribution of non-farm enterprises in terms of employment creation, income earnings and ensuring food security is however not significant. Thus, rural development policy should, to a larger extent, focus on the rural non-farm sector, and the different stakeholders should do their part towards improving the sector.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Socio-economic complexities of smallholder resource-poor ruminant livestock production systems in Sub-Saharan Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2004-11) Stroebel, Aldo; Swanepoel, Frans; Groenewald, Izak
    The challenge to overcome hunger remains one of the most serious confrontations facing humanity today. The threat of starvation is most serious in Africa, where an estimated 33% (138 million) of the population, mainly women and children, suffer from malnutrition. An estimated 680 million people, representing about two thirds of the rural poor, keep livestock, confirming the importance of livestock to their livelihoods. Understanding a live stock system requires description and analysis of its various components and their functional inter-relationships (the system’s functioning), rather than the description of livestock production alone. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyse the se relationships which are best understood by evaluating the various flows among system components as well as farmers’ management decisions. Farms vary in their resource endowments and in the family circumstances of the owners, with various resource flows and external interactions at the farm level. The biophysical, socio-economic and human elements of a farm are interdependent, and can be analysed as a system from various points of view. The challenges experienced in conducting diagnostic livestock studies are often attributed to the specific characteristics of livestock keeping. Taking cognisance of each farmer’s unique environment and context is central to the framework of farming systems research. No single component of smallholder farms in developing countries has as much potential as ruminant animals to address simultaneously the inter-related factors of under-nutrition, poverty and environmental decline that prevent people from improving their livelihoods. In mixed farming systems, as a result of the interplay among farm families, animals, crops and social systems, the roles and contributions of animals to smallholder agriculture are complex. The projected increased demand for livestock products could result in far-reaching changes in the structure of smallholder livestock production. Livestock never interact with natural resources in isolation, but people as livestock managers play a deciding role and are affected by biophysical, economic, social and policy factors. In this context, an integrated approach to natural resource management is required. Eighty-six smallholder cattle farmers in the Nzhelele District of the Limpopo Province of South Africa were surveyed. The farmers owned between one and 67 cattle, with an average of 10.3 head of cattle per household. The average age at first calving was 34.3 months. The rates of calving, weaning, calf mortality, herd mortality and offtake were 49.4%, 34.2%, 26.1%, 15.6% and 7.8% respectively. Contrary to the situation in many other regions of Southern Africa, commercial enterprise, not social prestige, constituted the main reason for farming with cattle. A marked complimentarity in resource-use i.e. crop residues as animal forage, has been demonstrated. Family size is the single most important factor among all variables studied (farm size, grazing land area, cultivated area and maize production area) that influences herd size for cattle and goats. The most important factor limiting the amount of land cultivated and the area used for maize production is farm size. Farm size has no relationship to the number of cattle or goats owned, as livestock predominantly depend on communal grazing. Animal traction supported by family labour, played a prominent role in land cultivation, due to the small farm size. Empirical studies and reviews from Eastern (Kenya) and Southern (South Africa) Africa has been used to construct a policy framework to guide livestock development in these two regions. Five overarching, integrated elements have been identified. These include food production and security, capacity strengthening for livestock research, livestock and the environment, health and genetics and marketing of livestock and livestock products. The framework that emerges is complex, due to the dramatically increasing demand for livestock products and, as a result, the farreaching changes in the structure of smallholder livestock production. To promote the development of smallholder farmers, different policy options must be assessed and evaluated, bearing in mind the farmers’ likely responses. New policies must include food production and security, capacity strengthening for livestock research, livestock and the environment, health and genetics and marketing of livestock and livestock products. An attempt has been made to translate these into complex, multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral policy frameworks.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Development of a systems model facilitating action research with resource-poor farmers for sustainable management of natural resources
    (University of the Free State, 2006-11) Smith, Hendrik Johannes; Walker, Sue; Stroebel, Aldo; Verschoor, Aart-Jan
    English: The focus of this research is a localised action research framework, or more specifically, the development of action-research theories based on experiences in a South African Landcare project. The Bergville Landcare project, implemented from 2000 to 2005, was aimed at developing conservation agriculture (CA) practices in a community of resource-poor farmers. These attempts culminated in the development of a soft-system platform on which participatory action research methodologies and techniques could be based in order to facilitate adult and action learning. The following six strategies were identified for the development of such a platform: awareness, local institution building, training-of-trainers, farmer-to-farmer extension, onfarm experimentation and partnerships. The main action-research methodology used to manage these strategies is monitoring and evaluation (M&E). The approach selected for this research is one in which multiple methodologies are deemed the most appropriate for developing theories within the paradigm of constructivism and interactive agricultural science, i.e. a combination of grounded theory, action research and soft-systems methodology (SSM). The design of the research process resulted in effectively using and analysing the different data sources within the following four phases: a) theory as an initial guide to design and data collection; b) application of initial theories in a Landcare project; c) theory as part of an iterative process of data collection and analysis; and d) gaining theoretical and practical insights into the focal research problems. A number of theories relating to action research were seen as critical in the formulation of the process which was applied in the Bergville project. Action research, experiential learning and action learning formed the foundation of the action research approach which was conducted with resource-poor farmers in the Bergville project. In a practical sense, action research was seen as the “umbrella methodology”, applied in harmony with other methodologies, such as SSM, the Farming Systems Approach (FSA), Farmer Participatory Research (FPR), Farmer Field School (FFS) and M&E. The “action research process” applied in the Bergville project was used as the so called ‘Acting’ phase, and was the primary data-source for the research process. The various documents and data used, i.e. project reports, a personal research diary, significant changes and M&E findings, are described comprehensively. A convergent interviewing process was used to obtain an indication of how sustainable the activities and results of the project were. The multi-methodological data analysis and theory development process proved to be successful in establishing local theories for practical application. Cognitive maps were used in combination with a general SSM framework to stimulate data analyses, reflection, learning and ultimately theorising. Three cognitive maps were developed in which local theories for on-farm experimentation, training-of-trainers, farmer-to-farmer extension, local institutionalisation and M&E are explicated. Since the cognitive map is a structuring (conceptualisation) of a complex situation, they were discussed in detail in an attempt to improve their understanding. The most suitable approach for a synthesis of the theorising results appeared to be the integration of the results into an improved theoretical framework addressing the main research questions of this study. This improved framework proved to be that of a systems model which included the major phases of the action-research cycle, and this was used to describe the proposed methodologies and techniques. The proposed six phases of this model are: a) Stakeholder analysis, b) Diagnosis (Situation analysis), c) Planning strategically, d) Implementing and managing, e) Learning and adapting, and f) Exit strategy. This model provides a means of creating a culture of learning that would allow people to be innovative and interactive in the management of natural resources and to collectively care for and manage these resources in a sustainable manner.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Components of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program for the control of the sheep blowfly Lucilia cuprina under South African conditions
    (University of the Free State, 2010-05) Scholtz, Anna Jacoba; Cloete, Schalk W. P.; Van Wyk, Japie B.; Van der Linde, Theuns C.
    English: The study includes separate papers, which are all linked by their emphasis on the control of blowfly strike, and breech strike in particular. This summary is intended to provide readers with a broad overview of the outcomes of the study. Part I. Management options Chapter 3 dealt with a survey on the prevalence of blowfly strike, and the methods used to combat blowfly strike, in the Rûens area of South Africa. It was clear from the survey that breech strike is the major form of strike in the Western Cape. Mulesing was once again demonstrated to be an effective control method for breech strike. With the termination of mulesing as an acceptable management practice, this chapter highlights the need for alternative methods to be used for blowfly control. Although useful from an IPM perspective, other initiatives that could add to blowfly control failed to have the same marked impact on blowfly strike that mulesing had. Chapter 4 reports on the effect of regular treatment with crystals derived from Aloe spp for potential use as a natural anthelmintic in yearling Merino progeny. The short-term effect of aloe treatment was also considered. Results showed no reduction in the parasite burden when sheep were treated with Aloe. The contribution of this treatment to blowfly IPM is thus limited. Part II. Breeding options Divergent selection for reproduction (defined as the ability of ewes to rear multiple offspring) resulted in lines that differed markedly for their susceptibility to breech strike as a correlated effect (Chapter 5). The line selected for reproduction (High line or H line) was substantially more resistant to breech strike than the line selected for low reproduction (Low line or L line). Chapter 6 reported genetic (co)variances between wrinkle scores and the absence of breech strike in mulesed and unmulesed Merinos. This chapter suggested that breech strike on the underlying scale is partly under genetic control. Indirect selection levelled against skin wrinkle could play a role in reducing the susceptibility of sheep to breech strike in unmulesed sheep only. The significant genetic variation for absence of breech strike remaining in mulesed sheep hints at traits not associated with wrinkles and bare breeches (which are arguably being strived for during the Mules operation) also being important in breech strike resistance genetics. In Chapter 7 subjective scores for dags, breech cover, crutch cover and belly quality were recorded for mature and maiden ewes in the divergently selected lines in an attempt to understand the reasons for the lower susceptibility to breech strike in the H line. Animals in this line displayed desirable breech and crutch characteristics compared to contemporaries selected against reproduction (L line). This generalisation held true for mature reproducing ewes as well as for two-tooth hoggets. Dag scores were accordingly improved in hoggets in the H line. In a further study (Chapter 8) it was shown that autumn and spring dag scores; breech wrinkle score as well as the vertical and horizontal breech bare areas were all heritable in the lines divergently selected for reproduction. Genetic correlations among the breech traits were generally favourable. Yearling live weight was favourably related to breech traits on the genetic level. The only genetic correlation of breech traits with fleece traits that would cause concern was a positive correlation between clean fleece weight and breech wrinkle score. Derived breeding values in this chapter confirmed substantial genetic differences for both dag scores, breech wrinkle score and breech bare area in favour of the H line. Results from Chapter 9 indicated that H line hoggets took substantially shorter time to be crutched than their L line contemporaries, indicating welfare benefits in favour of the former line. Implications The study has shown definite opportunities for the alleviation of breech strike and presents the scientific community with ample opportunities to refine and integrate existing control measures in a comprehensive IPM strategy. However, further research is needed to reach this objective.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Potato hash silage as an alternative feed resource for smallholder livestock production
    (University of the Free State, 2010-09) Nkosi, Bhutikini Douglas; Groenewald, I. B.; Van der Merwe, H. J.; Meeske, R.
    Several experiments were conducted to evaluate the ensiling of potato hash (PH) during the period. In the first experiment, a laboratory study was conducted to determine the nutritive value and ensiling potential of PH with poultry litter (PL) and ground hay as absorbents, and whey and molasses as additives. Triplicate samples of PH, PL and hay were collected and sampled for nutritive composition. Mixtures of 800 g PH/kg + 200 g/kg (as is basis) of either PL or hay were produced and treated with: no additive, whey and molasses. The experiment was conducted in a 2 x 3 factorial design (2 absorbents x 3 additives). Mixtures were ensiled in 108 anaerobic jars (1.5L) with 18 jars per treatment, and were stored at 24 - 28°C room temperature. Sampling was done on days 0, 4, 10, 20, 40, 60 and 90 for the determination of fermentation quality and nutritive value of the silage. Further, an aerobic stability test was done on day 90 by exposing silage to air for 5 days. The results showed that PH had 845 g/kg moisture, 11.4 metabolizable energy (ME) MJ/kg, 105 g crude protein (CP) /kg dry matter (DM) and 704 g starch/kg DM. Ensiling PH with ground hay compared to PL as an absorbent, resulted in a better quality silage as indicated by improved fermentation characteristics and chemical composition. Whey and molasses addition improved the nutritive value and the fermentation quality of PH silage but the aerobic stability was not improved. In the second experiment, potato hash silage (treated with no additive, whey and molasses) was produced by mixing 800 g PH/kg with 200 g hay/kg (as is basis), and ensiled in 210 L drums for 90 days, and the fermentation quality of the silages was determined thereafter. Diets containing either potato hash silage (PHS) or maize (Zea mays) silage (MS) were formulated and fed ad libitum to 32 South African Dorper lambs (23.5 ± 0.873 kg live weight) for 63 days. A digestibility study was conducted during the last week of the study. Furthermore, digestibility of the 3 PHS were compared using 9 sheep in a 3 x 3 Latin square design. The untreated potato hash silage (UPHS) was poorly fermented as indicated by higher (P<0.05) concentration of butyric acid, ammonia-N and pH compared to the other silages. Higher (P<0.05) dry matter intake (DMI) and daily gains (218 and 250 g/d) were obtained in lambs fed maize silage diet (MSd) and molasses treated potato hash silage diet (MPHSd) compared to the other diets. Nutrient digestibility was lower (P<0.05) in the UPHS diet compared to the other dietary treatments. The fermentation quality of PH was improved with whey and molasses addition. However, the growth performance was improved (P<0.05) with the MSd and MPHSd, suggesting that MPHSd can replace MSd in lamb diet at 20 % dietary inclusion level without any adverse effect on animal performance. In the third experiment, PH was mixed with wheat bran (70:30) as fed basis and ensiled in 210 L drum for 90 days. Three types of PHS : control, bonsilage forte (BF) and Lalsil Fresh LB(LFLB) were produced. After 3 months, the silos were opened and sampled for fermentation characteristics. Diets were produced by mixing PHS with soybean meal (90:10) as fed basis and a digestibility study was conducted using five South African Mutton Merino rams (37.2 ± 2.21 kg liveweight) per diet. Inoculating PHS with BF and LFLB reduced (P<0.05) pH, WSC, butyric acid and ammonia N while increasing the concentration of lactic acid compared to the control. A higher concentration of acetic acid was obtained with LFLB inoculation, which improved the aerobic stability of silage compared to the other silages. Intakes of dry (DM) and organic matter (OM) were not affected. Gross energy (GE) and CP of silage were improved (P<0.05) with BF and LFLB inoculations. Inoculants increased CP, GE and amylase treated neutral detergent fibre (aNDF) digestibility, but did not alter DM or OM digestibility. Inoculating silage with BF improved (P<0.05) digestibility of ether extract compared to the other treatments, and both inoculants improved (P<0.05) N intake and retention compared to the control. It is concluded that BF and LFLB improved silage fermentation and diet digestibility of CP, aNDF and gross energy. Inoculation with LFLB improved aerobic stability whilst BF inoculation reduced it. In the fourth experiment, totally mixed rations (TMRs) that contained 804 g PH/kg were ensiled in 1.5 L jars with or without Lalsil Fresh Lactobacillus buchneri (LB) for 3 months. Jars were opened on days, 0, 3, 7, 10, 21, 45, 60 and 90 of ensiling and sampled for fermentation and chemical composition determinations. Aerobic stability was determined on day 90 of ensiling. Treatments were LB treated TMR (LB-TMR) and untreated TMR (U-TMR). Furthermore, three TMRs that contained 801 g/kg of either maize (280 g DM/kg) or PH (as fed basis) were ensiled for 90 days in 210 L drums for lamb growth and digestibility studies. The ensiled TMRs were: Maize TMR (M-TMR), U-TMR and LB-TMR and were fed to 24 South African Dorper lambs (20± 0.152 kg live weight) that were allocated in 8 lambs per diet. Inoculation with LB decreased (P<0.05) pH, butyric acid, NH3-N, fibre fractions, CO2 production and yeast population while lactic acid, acetic acid and propionic acid concentrations were increased (P<0.05) compared to U-TMR silage. The ensiled LBTMR was aerobically more stable than U-TMR silage as indicated by lower (P<0.05) CO2 production and yeast population and higher concentrations of acetic acid. Higher (P<0.05) feed intake, average daily gain (ADG), nutrient digestibility and N retention occurred in LB-TMR silage compared to the other silages. It was concluded that LB is effective in producing a better quality PHS, as indicated by improved fermentation, aerobic stability, lamb growth performance and digestibility of LB-TMR silage.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Managing transitions in smallholder coffee agroforestry systems of Mount Kenya
    (University of the Free State, 2012-05) Carsan, Sammy; Stroebel, A.; Jamnadass, R.; Place, F.
    Coffee farming has been a major foundation of Kenya’s rural highland economy for the last four decades or so. Over 600,000 smallholder farmers organized in 579 cooperatives are engaged in the subsector. Coffee was a major source of income, employment and food security until the late 1980’s. Though Kenya produces some of the finest world coffee, the collapse of the International Commodity Agreement (ICA) on coffee and entry into the world market by major producers like Vietnam marked a near collapse of Kenya’s coffee. Exports fell by over 50% between the year 2000 and 2010. This was accompanied by significant loss of productivity (declined to a meagre 200 kg/ha from 600 kg/ha). The situation has contributed to poor living standards in coffee growing areas. Interestingly, there are no credible alternative investments to merit the allocation of constrained farm resources to replace coffee growing. In addition, there are concerns that the current resource base can no longer support enhanced productivity. This study used several research designs to investigate the performance of smallholder coffee agroforestry systems around Mount Kenya. More specifically, enterprise adoption and adaptation practices in the event of increased or decreased coffee production were researched. The evolution of coffee agroforestry systems was also evaluated and management of soil fertility determined. Using coffee yields data obtained from 180 smallholder coffee farmers by stratified random sampling techniques, coffee farm typologies were identified. These farm typologies/categories were labeled as increasing, decreasing and constant - representing their historical trends in coffee production. These farms were then used to investigate current productivity behavior. Simple descriptive statistics such as means, range, counts, enterprise scoring, diversity analysis pair wise correlations and regressions were used to compare farmer enterprise intensification strategies. Results have showed that farms that are decreasing coffee production, though had smaller land sizes are not significantly different from those in the coffee increasing category. Further results showed similarities in farmer enterprise diversification strategies. Coffee was nonetheless declining in smaller farms compared to farm sizes where it was increasing. Results also showed that farms with increasing coffee yields are associated with productive milk enterprises. These farms appear to afford and benefit from larger amounts of fertilizer and manure application. Coffee declining farms view banana and maize as likely alternatives to coffee, perhaps in a strategy to secure household food security. The study has showed that land size, coffee production (number of bushes, cherry yields/Ha), livestock units, agroforestry trees, banana, maize value and nutrient inputs (manure and fertilizer) and labour costs are important factors to assess coffee farms productivity and distinguish farm types. Results have showed the importance of creating more awareness among policy makers in order to promote enterprises that are of interest to farmers. This research also investigated tree diversity presently maintained by smallholders showing a shift in coffee cultivation practices. Trees on farm are traditionally appreciated for product benefits such as timber, fuel wood and food. They are also important for enhanced farm biodiversity and environmental services such as enhanced nutrient cycling. This study applied diversity analysis techniques such as species accumulation curves, rènyi diversity profiles and species rank abundance, to investigate farm tree diversity. At least 190 species were recorded from 180 coffee farms. For all the species enumerated, alpha diversity (H0) = 5.25 and H∞ = 0.89. Results showed that the 10 and 25 most abundant species comprise 75% and 91% of tree individuals present on farm, respectively. Results suggest that, though there is high abundance of tree individuals on farms they are of less richness and evenness. Species richness per farm was calculated at 17 species (15- 19.2, P = 0.95). Grevillea robusta was highly ranked in terms of relative density and dominance across surveyed farms at proportions of 41- 42%. Tree species basal area distribution showed that fruit trees such as, Persea americana, Mangifera indica and timber species such as, Cordia africana, Vitex keniensis and Croton macrostachyus are the most dominant but are of lower relative density. Species diversity analysis by coffee agro-ecological zones revealed that the upper-midland (UM) 3 is ranked significantly higher than UM2 and UM1. Results have implied that farmers with larger quantities of coffee (Coffea arabica L.) also retain more species diversity than farmers with stagnated production even though this evidence was inconclusive. Skewed patterns of species heterogeneity and structure among smallholder coffee plots provide indicators of divergent species cultivation. Tree species richness distribution between farms is strongly influenced by agro-ecological zones and presence of coffee cultivation. Only 22.5% of agroforestry tree abundance on farm was categorized as indigenous. Tree basal area ranking implied that fruit and native timber species are retained longer on coffee farms. Finally, this study assessed the implications of recent changes in coffee cultivation on soil fertility management. It was hypothesized that significant soil nutrient exports have occurred from coffee systems and that present nutrient prevalence are unknown and likely to be poorly managed. The purpose of this research was to inform concerns that with poor soil fertility prevalence, coffee systems face a danger to deteriorate to low production systems. Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy was used to analyse soil constituent properties for some 189 soil samples collected on 94 farms (within coffee plots). One third of the samples were used to build calibration models giving correlation coefficients between measured and partial least square (PLS) predicted soil properties. Correlations were strong (r > 0.70) except for P, Zn and Na demonstrating the potential of NIR to accurately predict soil constituents. Principal component analysis (PCA) was then used to develop soil nutrient indices (principal components scores) to serve as representative soil nutrient prevalence indicators. PC scores were also used as dependent variables in regression analysis. Collected data is robust to show that soil organic C, total N and probably P were most deficient across the coffee sites surveyed. Farmer nutrient application practices showed wide variability of fertilizer and manure use. Manure application is less than fertilizer and negatively correlated to farm size. Estimation of manure use per household was however challenging due to quantification and timing aspects of application. Collated evidence showed that farmers with increasing coffee production were more likely to afford larger fertilizer and manure application. Overall results point out that smallholders deliberately concentrate nutrient application on farm enterprises with good market performance. Coffee cultivation has in the past benefited from fertilizer credit facilities from farmer cooperative movements and government bilateral programmes. Declined coffee production is therefore seriously jeopardizing the amount of fertilizer that can be loaned to farmers. In conclusion, this study has identified a number of factors associated with smallholder decision making, resource use and enterprise adoption and adaptation behavior within coffee agroforestry systems of Mount Kenya. Research findings have allowed recommendations to be made on how best to promote farmer resource use, understand farmer decision making and enterprise choices that are of interest to farmers. The study has contributed to knowledge of farmer livelihood strategies when managing coffee farms in conditions of reduced profitability.