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Factors restricting adoption of sustainable agricultural practices in a smallholder agro-ecosystem: A case study of Potshini community, upper Thukela region, South Africa
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Pressure from an ever increasing population demands development and use of agriculturalpractices which increases productivity without undermining the biological foundation onwhich all humans depend. To support resilience, agriculture needs to manage the land forgeneration of multiple ecosystem services. Analyses show that practices that practices whichhave been introduced in Potshini, a smallholder community in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africahave potential to increase crop yields, generate multiple ecosystem services and resilience ofthe area. However, these practices are adopted to a very low degree. Through informationgained with semi-structured interviews with farmers reasons for low adoption is found onseveral scales. Reasons directly causing abandonments are both physical constraints as lack ofresources and reasons on a mental /behavioral form resistance to change behavior and lack ofknowledge, factors appearing on the local scale. These factors are partly connected to arigidity to change caused by the South African social system in combination with poorconditions for smallholder commercialization. A low dependency on farming as livelihoodand few opportunities to use farming for income generation results in a low potential of usingproductivity increase as driver. Soft factors related to traditions and farmer values becomesincreasingly important as drivers why practices with implications on the traditional way offarming (like the introduced conservation agriculture) becomes harder than introduction ofpractices which does not interfere with farmer values and traditions. Additionally, landdegradation acting as a driver for implementation on a societal level is not perceived as anurgent issue among farmers and thus not acted upon. To achieve long term sustainability inthe system, a better understanding of the system drivers is needed to achieve a change fromwithin the smallholder system, to facilitate other ways of income generation than fromproductivity increase. To increase the awareness of environmental issues, mainstreaming mayprovide a way forward, and to compensate farmers for costs related to benefits which aregenerated for the larger system payment for ecosystem services may be used.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 66 p.
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-62130OAI: diva2:439921
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2011-09-09 Created: 2011-09-09 Last updated: 2011-09-09Bibliographically approved

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