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Cape Peninsula University of Technology (2021)

Analysis of smallholder farmer livelihood strategies for coping and adapting to drought in the Western Cape Province, South Africa

Fanadzo, Mercy

Titre : Analysis of smallholder farmer livelihood strategies for coping and adapting to drought in the Western Cape Province, South Africa

Auteur : Fanadzo, Mercy

Université de soutenance : Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Grade : DPhil (Environmental Health) 2021

Résumé partiel
The South African government acknowledges the potential of the smallholder agricultural sector in improving rural livelihoods through sustainable farming. In South Africa, the smallholder farming sector comprises a diverse group of farmers in terms of their needs and livelihood outcomes. Smallholder farmers experience a myriad of challenges in their endeavours to develop and sustain their livelihood. Lately, drought has been a setback to the achievement of livelihood outcomes by smallholder farmers in South Africa. Meanwhile, the private sector, civil society and government organisations in South Africa have played a meaningful role in assisting smallholder farmers to satisfy their diverse needs. This has resulted in the implementation of various policies by different organisations and the adoption of various approaches to develop the sector. However, all the stakeholders, including farmers, have experienced their fair share of challenges in their endeavours. Therefore, the translation of different policies into programmes or initiatives to achieve their intended purposes requires vigilance and should be followed by an evaluation to determine their effectiveness. Although South Africa has sound policies for livelihoods and drought management, literature suggests a rare implementation of them. There is limited information available to facilitate the understanding of the approaches used and the implementation processes to determine the impact of the policies. The achievement of sustainability in this farming sector necessitates the careful consideration of the diversity existing amongst different livelihood strategies to understand the context in which operations are undertaken. Against this background, this study was conducted based mainly on the context of the 2015-2018 drought, which started around early 2015 and lasted until the end of 2018. The four main objectives of this study were : 1) Analysing the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the Western Cape ; 2) Analysing the different strategies employed by smallholder farmers in adapting to the effects of the 2015-2018 drought in the Western Cape ; 3) Understanding the role of different organisations in enhancing livelihoods and drought strategies in the Western Cape ; and 4) evaluating a drought programme from a private or public organisation implemented to assist smallholder farmers in adapting to the 2015-2018 drought in the Western Cape. The Sustainable Livelihood Approach was largely used to conduct the analyses and the Sustainable Livelihood Framework to frame the research questions, formulated with reference to different parameters such as livelihood capital, coping and adaptation and organisations. Though the study largely utilised the qualitative design, very limited methods of quantitative research design were also utilised in collecting data, for instance. Firstly, the access to and ownership of financial, physical, natural, social and human capital by the Overberg and West Coast districts farmers was analysed during the period 2017 to 2019. The existence of a diverse group of farmers in terms of how they access and own assets was confirmed at the two study sites.

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