Demographics and Animal Husbandry practices of rural livestock owners of the Eastern Cape Province

Author: T. Rust
Year: 2023
Issue: 1
Volume: 16
Page: 16 - 28

A baseline study was done in the Eastern Cape Province to provide benchmark information regarding rural livestock owners and their animals for use in analysing and tracking change over time. The objectives were to determine the demographics, livelihood status, livestock ownership and general practices pertaining to the dominant species, i.e. cattle, sheep and goats. A structured baseline livelihood and agricultural productivity questionnaire was administered to rural farmers of diverse communal areas on an individual basis. Of the respondents, 89 were males and 40 females. The average age of the livestock owners was 59±14.4 years and level of literacy declined as age increased. Farming activity was the main income source (59%) followed by old age pension (46%). Most livestock owners (81%) owned cell phones, 71% owned radios and 89.3% had funeral policies. Electricity was available to 68% of the livestock owners and 64.5% of them used it for lighting. Only 37% used electricity for cooking (44% used wood). Most farmers collected water from taps in street (61%). Of the 129 respondents, 99 owned cattle, 88 owned woolled sheep and 66 owned goats. Many respondents (28%) owned animals of all three species, and 30% owned only one of the 3 main species. Cattle and goat owners followed an open mating season while 35% of sheep farmers mated during autumn. Animals were kraaled at night with the main reason theft (80%). Livestock diseases most encountered were internal parasites (67%) and gall sickness (53%). Financial and infrastructure limitations were their main constrains, followed by veld and fodder management.

Keywords: Age, Cattle, farmer, goats, literacy, livelihood, management, sheep
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