Integration of Crops and Livestock in the Smallholder Farming System of the Former Homelands of South Africa

  •  Ajuruchukwu Obi    


Available evidence suggests that sub-saharan Africa as a group has suffered serious setbacks in recent years, culminating in the stagnation of farm production and productivity amidst sustained and sometime escalating poverty rates. At the same time, increases in human population levels have resulted in rising demand for food as well as for arable land. The growing intensification of farming has been accompanied by degradation of wild lands, including tropical forests and wetlands, at an alarming rate. Further pressure on fragile land has come from associated urbanization. Recent increases in food prices have drawn attention to this problem even more strongly. Integrating crops and livestock into existing farming systems is being recognized as a means to address these problems. The main objective of this paper was to investigate farmer’s perception of the relative importance of crop-livestock integration in the small holder farming systems. Data collected from 70 emerging and smallholder farmers Nkonkobe Municipality were analyzed by means of descriptive statistics, multiple linear regression models and the binary logistic regression model. The results reveal that the smallholder farmers have the possibility of realizing immense benefits from the integrated systems. The most feasible option for enhancing productivity of the farming system and achieving sustainable livelihood improvements seems to be augmentation of existing and locally available inputs which will undoubtedly be less costly than their wholesale replacement with new and exotic inputs. It is recommended that collective action to identify innovative practices as part of innovation platforms comprising diverse rural and agricultural stakeholders be encouraged to enable farmers learn from one another and optimize the positive effects of a better targeted extension exposure.

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