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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Afrique du Sud → 2020 → FROM LIVESTOCK TO GAME FARMING : FARMERS UNDERSTANDINGS OF LAND USE CHANGES, SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN THE UBUNTU MUNICIPALITY, SOUTH AFRICA

Stellenbosch University (2020)

FROM LIVESTOCK TO GAME FARMING : FARMERS UNDERSTANDINGS OF LAND USE CHANGES, SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN THE UBUNTU MUNICIPALITY, SOUTH AFRICA

Manyani, Charmaine Rudo Sanelisiwe

Titre : FROM LIVESTOCK TO GAME FARMING : FARMERS UNDERSTANDINGS OF LAND USE CHANGES, SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN THE UBUNTU MUNICIPALITY, SOUTH AFRICA

Auteur : Manyani, Charmaine Rudo Sanelisiwe

Université de soutenance : Stellenbosch University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology 2020

Résumé
Through a case study of commercial game farming in the Ubuntu Local Municipality in the arid Nama Karoo Biome of the Northern Cape, this dissertation has three main aims : firstly, to understand the views of commercial farmers in the Ubuntu Local Municipality on game farming and its relationship to sustainable agriculture in this region, including the motivations of those who are making the switch from livestock to game farming ; secondly, to bring to the fore the views of black small-scale and emerging farmers, a neglected constituency in the debate on the merits of game farming, and thirdly, to address if and how the trend towards game farming in the Northern Cape could be aligned to sustainable land and agrarian reform. My theoretical framing draws on political ecology and understandings of sustainable development that consider social and economic justice as non-negotiable imperatives, along with respect for planetary boundaries. The growth of game farming in South Africa has been variously attributed to socio-political, economic, climatic and ecological reasons. There are an estimated 11,500 wildlife ranches in South Africa that, according to Wildlife Ranching South Africa (2017), have converted 20 million hectares of marginal land to productive land. However, despite its reported success, game farming in South Africa is mired in controversy. While its proponents argue that farmers who are making the switch are aligned with sustainable agricultural practices and the promotion of biodiversity conservation, its critics argue that game farming is being driven by other motives, including evading land reform through manipulating conservation narratives. Analysing and contextualising these debates in an under-researched area with a very specific history and ecology is thus an important task. In addressing these issues, I have used a case study design that utilised a mixed-methods approach to gathering data. Methods utilised included a self-administered survey of commercial farmers in the Ubuntu Local Municipality, in-depth interviews with commercial and small-scale farmers as well as officials and other key informants, focus group discussions, observations and documentary analysis. My main findings are, firstly, that the switch to game farming in the Ubuntu Local Municipality has been spurred primarily by economic factors (increasing production costs, market fluctuations, etc.) ; however, ecological considerations in terms of managing drought and climate change concerns and the depletion of the natural veld are also encouraging farmers to diversify their income portfolios. Secondly, game farming is, no more or less complicit in unsustainable farming than other forms of farming ; it depends on how it is practised. In a context of social-ecological change it could contribute to more sustainable land management and local economic development in arid environments (for instance through new forms of employment) if appropriately regulated, as part of a larger suite of more effectively supported land and agrarian reform projects. Thirdly, small-scale farmers’ entry into commercial livestock farming is severely hampered by their lack of access to critical resources that include land, financial assistance, extension support and production skills. In this context game farming is seen as beyond what they can envisage or aspire to in the Ubuntu Local Municipality.

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