The effect of climate change on rural livestock farming: case study of Giyani Policing Area, Republic of South Africa
The key sectors of the Greater Giyani Municipality (GGM) economy are driven by manufacturing, trade, catering, government, finance, transport, communications and agriculture. The goal of this study is to analyse the effect of climate change on rural-livestock farming activities in the Giyani Policing Area (GPA). The effects are described in terms of agricultural yield, livelihood and production. Apart from other general factors that impact agriculture negatively, the success of rural livestock farmers in the GPA is greatly influenced by turbulent climate change aspects. The current paper further identifies the effect of climate change (e.g. drought, temperature and rainfall) on farmers and key stakeholders while establishing how they handle challenges associated with climate change in the study district. Data were collected from 22 participants, including officials associated with Veterinary Services and Land and Infrastructure of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) in the GGM. Taking part in the Key Informant Interviews (KIIs) were officials from the DAFF-2:1, and 20:10 rural livestock farmers from Makosha and Xikukwana villages, respectively, were used for the Focus Group Discussions (FGD’s). The main findings show that the rural livestock farmers in the GGM are highly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change, shown by the overall decline in livestock farming practices in the area caused by associated health and nourishment problems brought forward by climate change. The links between climate change and rural livestock farming were examined in the process of describing that droughts, excessive temperatures and heavy rainfall has a detrimental effect on rural livestock farmers in the selected areas. This paper further investigates the strategies that rural producers utilise to maintain sustainable economic viability concerning animal health, safety and nutritional requirements while preparing for unforeseen risks. In conclusion, this paper enforces the statement that the identified climate change factors do have a significant effect on rural livestock farming, despite the infrequent and varied occurrence between regions. This paper recommends that the relevant stakeholders should be encouraged to be involved in proactive and reactive activities concerning the climate change, to avoid unnecessary negative effects implicating national food security.
Keywords: Agriculture, drought, rural livestock farmers, rainfall, temperature