A facilitated process towards finding options for improved livestock production in the communal areas of Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape province, South Africa

  • WM Goqwana Dohne Agricultural Development Institute, Eastern Cape Department of Agriculture, Private Bag X15, Stutterheim 4930, South Africa
  • C Machingura Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, School of Agriculture, University of Fort Hare, Private Bag X1314, Alice 5700, South Africa
  • Z Mdlulwa Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Division, Agricultural Research Council, PO Box 8783, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
  • R Mkhari Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Division, Agricultural Research Council, PO Box 8783, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
  • O Mmolaeng ARC–Institute for Industrial Crops, Agricultural Research Council, Private Bag X82075, Rustenburg 0300, South Africa
  • AO Selomane Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Limpopo, Private Bag X1106, Sovenga 0727, South Africa


A participatory multi-stakeholder process of finding options for improving livestock production in the severely degraded communal grazing area of Sterkspruit in South Africa was conducted. Interviews were conducted with individual livestock keepers from two sites to gather data on their demographic characteristics, livestock holdings, and main sources of income. Interviews and focus workshops with various stakeholders and the livestock keepers were conducted on what they perceived to be options for improving livestock production. Livestock keepers comprised less than 20% of the entire population in both villages, consisting of individuals about 60 years of age. About 60% kept less than eight cattle. Regardless of herd size, about 40% relied on old-age and welfare grants rather than livestock for income. Livestock keepers identified options promoting survival of livestock, such as improved veterinary services and winter feeding as a priority. In contrast, other stakeholders, including representatives of government, municipalities, farmers unions and commodity associations, identified options for reducing livestock numbers, such as marketing and removal of large stock owners to private land, as a priority for reducing degradation due to overstocking. Due to this difference in goals and aspirations, no common set of priorities could be agreed upon.

Keywords: degradation; livelihoods; livestock keepers; multi-stakeholder; participatory

African Journal of Range & Forage Science 2008, 25(2): 63–69

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9380
print ISSN: 1022-0119