Research Articles (Agricultural Economics)

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Determinants of rural household livelihood dependence on non-timber forest products: a case study from Inanda Community, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
    (Frontiers, 2022) Wale, Edilegnaw; Nkoana, Mmaphuti Andrias; Mkuna, Eliaza
    Natural forest resources are the most accessible sources of services, products and incomes for many adjacent rural communities. However, the declining resilience of forests and agricultural sectors particularly in South Africa is concerning and a real public policy challenge. Little is known about the determinants of rural community dependence on natural forests, and the importance of this dependence to rural livelihoods and environmental outcomes. This study investigated factors affecting rural household level of forest dependence and the contribution of natural forests to rural household livelihoods in the “KwaZulu-Natal Sandstone Sourveld (KZNSS)” ecosystem. Employing survey data from 150 forest-dependent households and a logit-transformed Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) model, the study found that there is significant level of forest dependence in the study area. The empirical findings showed that the contribution of forest resources to rural livelihoods is significantly influenced by off-farm incomes, employment incomes, forest vouchers received from the “Wildlands Project” in exchange for planting trees, values of household assets, changing of time and dates in visiting the forest for the collection of forest products, and perceived changes in temperature. These findings imply that institutional arrangements for programs like the “Wildlands Project” need to be developed from the beginning with the participation of all pertinent stakeholders for everyone to accept it and understand the regulations. Additionally, legislative changes are needed to help rural residents sustainably support their livelihoods and diversify their sources of income to build resilience and ease pressure on natural forests.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Youth participation in agriculture, accounting for entrepreneurial dimensions
    (AOSIS, 2022) Henning, Johannes I. F.; Jammer, Brent D.; Jordaan, Henry
    Background: Despite the high youth unemployment levels, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, participation in the agricultural sector remains low. The agricultural sector provides valuable opportunities of employment, which could contribute towards relieving the high levels of unemployment and enhancing livelihoods of families in rural areas. Youth are also seen as the future of the agricultural sector and food production. Aim: To determine whether entrepreneurial dimensions, along with assets within the sustainable livelihoods framework, influences participation of youth in the agricultural sector. Setting: Focus is on youth and the influence of endogenous and exogenous factors on their participation in the agricultural sector. Methods: Entrepreneurial dimensions of 440 youth participants were derived from statements related to entrepreneurial skills and competencies by means of principal component analysis and combined with factors from the sustainable livelihood framework in a multinomial logistic regression. Results: It was found that the youth are heterogeneous in their endogenous and exogenous resources. Youth involved in the sector are more likely to have access to land and extension services, experience in the sector and support initiatives. In terms of entrepreneurial dimensions, youth involved are more inclined to believe in themselves and are more likely to take advantage of opportunities (pull entrepreneurship). The results show that policies and programmes should consider both endogenous and exogenous factors and combinations thereof to attract and enhance youth participation in the agricultural sector. Conclusion: Policy and programme development should consider the heterogeneity of youth in terms of their access to resources and entrepreneurial dimensions to enhance their participation in the agricultural sector. Participation in agriculture requires more than only access to land, and other individual physical resources attention should also be given to endogenous factors of individuals and combinations of different resources.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Does adoption of climate change adaptation strategy improve food security? A case of rice farmers in Ogun State, Nigeria
    (MDPI, 2022) Ojo, Temitope Oluwaseun; Ogundeji, Abiodun A.; Emenike, Chijioke U.
    The southwestern part of Nigeria, particularly Ogun State, is more vulnerable to the vagaries of climate change due to the high dependence on rain-fed agriculture and limited capacities to respond to climate change. In this study, factors influencing climate change adaptation strategies and its impacts on household food security of smallholder rice farmers in Ogun State were estimated. A multistage sampling technique was employed to select 120 smallholder rice farmers in the study area. The factors influencing the adoption of climate change adaptation practices and their impacts on household food security among smallholder rice farmers in Ogun State were examined using a probit model and an endogenous switching probit model (ESPM). According to the results of household dietary diversity score (HDDS), adopters of climate change adaptation techniques have higher levels of food security than non-adopters. The outcome of the ESPM shows that access to market information, access to extension agents, gender, off-farm income, and membership in cooperatives all contribute to the variations in food security experienced by both adopters and non-adopters of climate change adaptation strategies. A unit increase in adoption of climate change adaptation measures will increase household food security by about 3 units while decreasing severity in food insecurity by about 3.2 units. Therefore, it is recommended that policies that would support smallholder farmers’ decisions to embrace measures for coping with climate change should be encouraged in order to stimulate their adaptive capacity. Additionally, in order to secure the inclusive sustainability of the agricultural sector, stakeholders and NGOs must collaborate with each other to enhance the circumstances under which farmers may receive climate change information, timely agricultural loans, and policy incentives.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Exploring the growth of agricultural productivity in Africa: a Färe-Primont Index approach
    (MDPI, 2022) Myeki, Lindikaya W.; Bahta, Yonas T.; Matthews, Nicolette
    The effort to increase agricultural productivity continues to receive interest in Africa as low productivity levels, poverty and food insecurity remain or even increase. This study used the Färe-Primont Index to estimate agricultural total factor productivity growth for 49 African countries. Panel data consisting of 833 observations for the period 2000 to 2016 were obtained from the United State Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service database. The results show that the average growth rate for agriculture in Africa is 0.73% per annum. The sector experienced increased growth after the Maputo Declaration, which was sustained during the global financial crisis. West Africa experienced the largest growth while Southern Africa suffered a substantial decline. The study also discovered that growth differed between countries indicating that customization of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme into regional and country-specific policy interventions is important to boost agricultural productivity. Finally, the growth was achieved through technical change, while efficiency change constrained growth. Policy-makers should increase investment in agricultural extension services, education and training to enhance managerial capacity (efficiency change) because improved managerial capacity could increase agricultural growth and thereby increase food security and alleviate poverty in Africa
  • ItemOpen Access
    Comparison of the importance of beef price labelling aspects: an eye-tracking approach
    (Elsevier, 2022) Lombard, W. A.
    Self-reported approaches such as surveys are a common way in which consumers' preferences and needs can be assessed but this approach can provide incorrect results. Few studies combine data from cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and marketing. Among these techniques, eye-tracking can be used to elucidate how observers' overt visual attention is acted upon, and it can also be employed to evaluate and compare individuals' graphic search behaviour in a number of settings. Using eye-tracking technology, the purpose of this article is to identify how beef consumers pay attention to the information on price labels and to compare that to their self-reported attention ratings. The dataset used in this study consists of 307 participants. Kendall's W tests were used to identify and rank consumers' preferences from eye-tracking and post-test questionnaires. Pearson's correlations were used to correlate consumers' demographic information against their eye-tracking data. Results from the eye-tracking test showed that the aspects that received the most attention from the participants were the price of the pack, butchery name, and classification of the meat. The price of the pack was looked at more times by the largest share of consumers, and for the most extended period of all labelling, aspects presented. Results also showed that the butchery's name was the labelling aspect consumers mostly paid attention to first. Fewer consumers tended to look at the packaging date, sell-by date and cut name. A difference was found between the aspects that the participants indicated were the most important when buying red meat and what aspects they actually paid attention to when looking at packs of beef. Correlation results suggest that younger consumers are more likely to pay attention to the price labelling aspects and for a longer period. However, it will be at a later stage than older consumers. Also, price label information seems to be more important to higher educated beef consumers. The vital role that eye-tracking can play in improving the accuracy of research has been highlighted in the study. Marketing agents will also be able to use eye-tracking to ensure that products meet the demands of their customers. Future studies must be performed to confirm the results of this study before they can be generalised. It would be worthwhile to also test consumers' understanding of beef price label information.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Nexus between coping strategies and households' agricultural drought resilience to food insecurity in South Africa
    (MDPI, 2022) Bahta, Yonas T.
    Farmers in Africa, including those in South Africa, rely on rain-fed agriculture, which exposes them to the risks of agricultural drought. Agricultural drought has become a major threat to agricultural production, including the extreme mortality of livestock in recent years, thus negatively impacting household food security. Hence, this paper is aimed at (i) assessing the coping strategies employed by smallholding livestock-farming households during food insecurity shocks, and (ii) assessing the relationship between coping strategies and agricultural drought resilience to food insecurity in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Interviews, more specifically survey interviews, were conducted with 217 smallholder livestock farmers. The data was analyzed using the agricultural drought resilience index (ADRI), the household food insecurity access scale (HFIAS), and structural equation modeling. Smallholder livestock farming households utilized various coping strategies, ranging from selling livestock (21%) to leasing out their farms (1%). The coping strategies of farming households included using alternative land (20%), storing food (20%), requesting feed for their animals (16%), searching for alternative employment (6%), migrating (6%), raising drought-tolerant breeds (5%), receiving relief grants (3%) and using savings and investments (2%). A statistically significant relationship between coping strategies and agricultural drought resilience to food insecurity means that these strategies have important policy implications. Implementing strategies that encourage households to protect their livelihood and utilize their assets (selling livestock) to increase their resilience is crucial for reducing food insecurity and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end hunger and poverty.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Rethinking blended high yielding seed varieties and partial-organic fertiliser climate smart agriculture practices for productivity and farm income gains in the drylands of Zimbabwe
    (Frontiers, 2022) Musara, Joseph P.; Bahta, Yonas T.; Musemwa, Lovemore; Manzvera, Joseph
    Most blended climate smart agriculture (CSA) technologies focusing on seed-fertilizer combinations have either been marginally adopted or dis-adopted by smallholder farmers due to the nature of design and implementation. A data science research approach was used with 380 households in the mid-Zambezi Valley of Zimbabwe. The study examines impact of adopting a farmer initiated CSA practice combining improved sorghum seed variety and partial-organic fertilizer on household income and productivity among smallholder farmers in the drylands of Zimbabwe. A cross sectional household survey using multi stage sampling with purposive and stratified proportionate approaches was conducted. A structured questionnaire was utilized for data collection. Endogenous Switching Regression (ESR) model was utilized to account for self-selection bias of sampled farmers. Overall, a combination of farm specific factors (arable land, variable costs) and external factors (distance to the market, value of aid) have a bearing on the adoption decision and the associated impact on productivity and income. The counterfactual analysis shows that farmers who adopt the technology are relatively better off in productivity and income. Our findings highlight the significance of improving access to CSA practices which are initiated by the farmers using a bottom-up approach since they suit their operating contexts better. Tailor-made supporting programs including farmer networking platforms and decentralized markets need to be designed and scaled up by policymakers to encourage farmers to adopt blended soil fertility CSA practices in their farming practices. Networking arrangements need to be strengthened through local, government and private sector partnerships along the sorghum value chain.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Crop water productivity, applied water productivity and economic decision making
    (MDPI, 2022) Letseku, Violet; Grove, Bennie
    Increasing productive water use in agriculture is seen as paramount to meet future food demand with limited water supplies. The main objective of this paper is to gain a better understanding of the interrelated linkages between crop water productivity (CWP) and applied water productivity (AWP) as affected by irrigation management decisions in order to assess the impact of economic decision making on CWP and AWP under area-limiting and water-limiting conditions. A daily soil water balance mathematical programming model that explicitly models the impact of technology choice and stochastic weather on water use efficiency was used to study the interactions. The assumption is made that a rational decision maker will allocate water to maximize expected profits. The results showed that CWP is, to a large extent, unresponsive to increasing irrigation water applications, especially when water applications are approaching maximum potential crop yields. The difference between optimal crop yields for the area-limiting and water-limiting scenarios is small, which shows that the portion of water production function that is relevant for economic decision making is small and falls within the unresponsive range of CWP changes. Profit maximizing decision makers will not try to maximize CWP or AWP since these objectives will result in profit losses.
  • ItemOpen Access
    An assessment of the water use associated with Australian diets using a planetary boundary framework
    (Cambridge University Press, 2021) Ridoutt, Bradley G.; Baird, Danielle; Anastasiou, Kim; Hendrie, Gilly A.
    Objective: Agriculture accounts for around 70 % of global freshwater withdrawals. As such, the food system has been identified as a critical intervention point to address water scarcity. Various studies have identified dietary patterns that contribute less to water scarcity. However, it is unclear what level of reduction is necessary to be considered sustainable. The pursuit of unnecessarily aggressive reductions could limit dietary diversity. Our objective was to assess the sustainability of water use supporting Australian dietary habits and the adequacy of current dietary guidelines. Design: Dietary intake data were obtained from the National Nutrition and Physical Activity component of the Australian Health Survey. For each individual daily diet, the water scarcity footprint was quantified, following ISO14046:2014, as well as a diet quality score. Water scarcity footprint results were compared with the planetary boundary for freshwater use downscaled to the level of an individual diet. Setting: Australia. Participants: 9341 adults participating in the Australian Health Survey. Results: Dietary water scarcity footprints averaged 432·6 L-eq (95 % CI 432·5, 432·8), less than the 695 litres/person per d available to support the current global population of 7·8 billion, and the 603 litres/person per d available for a future population of 9 billion. Diets based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines required 521 L-eq/d, or 379 L-eq/d with lower water scarcity footprint food choices. Conclusions: Diets based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines were found to be within the freshwater planetary boundary. What is needed in Australia is greater compliance with dietary guidelines.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Youths' perceptions and aspiration towards participating in the agricultural sector: a South African case study
    (MDPI, 2022) Henning, Johannes I. F.; Matthews, Nicolette; August, Moatlhodi; Madende, Primrose
    Agriculture is considered as a leading source of employment while ensuring food security to the world and especially rural communities. However, the youth do not appear to be interested in the agricultural sector due to various reasons such as their perceptions and aspirations towards the sector. This research intends to explore whether perceptions, aspirations and access to resources affect youth participation in agriculture and related economic activities, under rain-fed production in two regions of the Free State province of South Africa. Principal component analysis was used to determine perception dimensions, while a probit model was used to investigate the effect of capital (human, social, physical, financial and natural), the perception dimensions and the respondents’ agricultural aspirations on agricultural participation. The results showed that the aspirations of youth do not affect their decision to participate in the agricultural sector. However, exposure to agriculture and support systems can increase youth participation in the industry. Results also show that grants, which are an easy source of income, and the uneducated and comfort perception dimension hinders youth participation in agriculture.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The water footprint of biodiesel produced from sunflower in South Africa
    (MDPI, 2022) Netshifhefhe, Khwathiso; Jordaan, Henry
    The use of feedstock crops for the production of biodiesel suggests that biodiesel production may have a major impact on the scarce freshwater resource in South Africa. This paper aimed to assess the green plus blue water footprints (WFgreen+blue) of biodiesel produced from sunflower in South Africa using the Global Water Footprint Standard approach. The green (WFgreen) and blue water footprint (WFblue) at the farm level were assessed for sunflower grown under the rain-fed and irrigation production system respectively. The results show that 2617 m3 and 2477 m3 are required to produce 1 ton of rain-fed and irrigated sunflower respectively. At the processing level, about 7.12 L of blue water is required to produce 1 L of biodiesel from sunflower. The WFblue at the processing stage of biodiesel produced from irrigated sunflower was 1.01 m3/GJ, compared to 1.15 m3 m3/GJ from rain-fed sunflower. The WFgreen+blue of biodiesel produced from irrigated and rainfed sunflower was 2477 and 2617 m3/ton, respectively. WFgreen was the largest, accounting for about 59% and 99% for biodiesel produced from irrigated and rain-fed sunflower, respectively. It was further found that water consumption at the farm level accounted for about 99% of the WFgreen+blue of biodiesel in both production systems. Management practices that improve water use efficiency at the farm level may help to lower the WFgreen+blue of biodiesel. Interestingly, the WFgreen+blue is lower for biodiesel produced from irrigated sunflower than for rainfed sunflower. The blue water scarcity assessment showed that blue water scarcity is low during the period when sunflower requires water. As such, purely from a water use perspective, irrigated sunflower production in the Orange Riet Irrigation Scheme may be considered sustainable.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Adaptation, coping strategies and resilience of agricultural drought in South Africa: implication for the sustainability of livestock sector
    (Elsevier Ltd., 2021) Bahta, Yonas T.; Myeki, Vuyiseka A.
    Agricultural drought has put sub-Saharan African under significant pressure, and without adaptation, will negatively influence a future generation. Hence, it is crucial to assess the adaptation and coping strategies, the resilience of agricultural drought, its implication on the sustainability of the livestock sector, and developing future interventions. Data of 217 smallholder livestock farmers were used in a principal component analysis to estimate the agricultural drought resilience index as an outcome variable against social wellbeing, economic outcome, environmental variable and adaptive capacity variables. The results found that 21% of the livestock farming households sold their livestock as an adaptation and coping strategy. In contrast, 20% of the farming households used alternative land use as an adaptation, and coping strategy, 20% stored food, 17% asked for animal feed, 6% sought employment, 6% migrated, 5% kept drought-tolerant breeds, 3% received relief grants, 2% used their savings and investments, and 1% leased their farms. When natural, economic and social sustainability was viewed as a resilience process, the three pillars positively and significantly impacted households' agricultural drought resilience. This implied that the more smallholder farmers participated in social networks and cooperatives, the higher the resilience to agricultural drought. Further, the more resources, income, access to land, access to water, access to credit, and additional types of farming, the higher the households’ resilience to agricultural drought and adaptive capacity. Thus, the three pillars of sustainability are crucial for enhancing the resilience and adaptability of smallholder livestock farmers. The study recommends that government aid reduce vulnerability to agricultural drought via access to agricultural credit and encourage farmers to be part of social networks and cooperatives. Additionally, the government could improve access to land and water rights to boost the resilience of smallholder farmers to agricultural drought. This could be achieved through collaboration and coordination among all role players.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The water-economy nexus of beef produced from different cattle breeds
    (MDPI, 2021) Mare, Frikkie Alberts
    The sustainable use of water, or any other natural resource for that matter, is not the only factor that should be considered in terms of sustainability, as social equity and economic prosperity are equally important. The objective of this study was to analyse different breeds of beef cattle, following the same production method, in terms of their water footprint and economic value addition for different links in the value chain. A bottom-up approach was applied to identify the breed with the best economic water consumption in terms of beef production. The results indicated that the total WF/kg carcass revealed notable differences between the various breeds. The Bonsmara had the smallest WF/kg carcass, while the Limousin had the largest. The WF/kg of beef for the different cuts (rib eye, topside, and flank) showed large variations between the breeds and between the different cuts of beef from the same breed. In terms of the economic water consumption, the Angus consumed between 4% and 25% less water per rand of economic value addition than the Bonsmara, Simmentaler, Simbra, Limousin, Afrikaner, and Brahman. When the economic water consumption of the individual value links was considered, it was found that Bonsmara had the best figures for cow–calf production, while the Limousin and Simmentaler were the best in terms of feedlot finishing and processing, respectively. These contradicting results showed the importance of a bottom-up approach to ensure that the fallacy of division does not occur and, secondly, that possible problem areas in the value chain are identified and addressed separately.