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