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University of Limpopo (2015)

Determinants of cattle ownership and herd size in Vhembe District of Limpopo Province, South Africa

Mudzielwana, Gumani

Titre : Determinants of cattle ownership and herd size in Vhembe District of Limpopo Province, South Africa

Auteur : Mudzielwana, Gumani

Université de soutenance : University of Limpopo

Grade : Master of Science (MS)

Résumé
Livestock production particularly cattle production is a major component of Southern African rural agriculture with a population of some 14.1 million cattle. Cattle occupy a unique role in human livelihoods and they are raised for meat, milk, and as draft animals for pulling carts and plows. Cattle farmers in communal areas are rational in the ways in which they use and manage their herds, and economic benefits are contributory drivers of their behaviour. The title of the study was the determinants of cattle ownership and herd size in Vhembe District of Limpopo Province, South Africa. The study had two objectives ; firstly, to determine the socio-economic factors affecting the household decision to keep cattle and secondly, to analyse the determinants of herd size in livestock keeping households. The study was conducted in Mutale Local Municipality located in Vhembe District of Limpopo Province in South Africa. The study employed a sample of 185 small scale farmers from five villages covering about 5% of each village’s population. The statistical programme used to analyse the data was STATA 2010. For empirical analysis, the study used three analytical techniques namely : the logistic regression model, the OLS model and the Heckman selection model. Empirical results revealed that nine variables were significant in determining the probability of a household to own cattle namely ; gender of household head, marital status of household head, age of the household head, household total size, benefits from livestock, previous cattle ownership in the family, homestead category, other income source and also the land area . Most of the variables that explained the decision of a household to keep cattle were also associated with explaining the decision of a household to keep a given number of cattle. Based on the findings of this study, several policy recommendations were proposed, namely ; encouragement of youth participation in agriculture, promotion of gender equality and improvement of women’s consideration in decision-making processes in agricultural production, provision and conservation of agricultural grazing land and livestock infrastructural development. Additional policy recommendations were ; intensification of the cattle input support schemes (feed, water and disease control), incentives for cattle farmers to consider farming as a business than just a cultural norm, provision of job opportunities in homelands and provision of livestock production institutions.

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