Evaluating the contribution of livestock to household livelihoods in the communal rangelands of the north Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

Author: B. Gusha & A.R. Palmer
Year: 2024
Issue: 1
Volume: 17
Page: 1 - 11

This article evaluates the contribution of livestock to rural households in communal areas of the north Eastern Cape in South Africa, using surveys from 120 households. Structured questionnaire surveys were conducted from both livestock and non-livestock-owning households to gather information on livestock composition and their associated contribution to household livelihoods. The results revealed that livestock composition was dominated by sheep (72%), cattle (19%) and goats (9%). The mean livestock holding of 6 cattle, 15 sheep and 2 goats was reported by the female-headed households, while the mean livestock holding of 6 cattle, 29 sheep and 4 goats was reported by the male-headed household. Different livestock beneficial outputs such as offtake, manure, milk and draft power were reported by both livestock (74%) and non-livestock (26%) owning households. On the other hand, the mean annual income from livestock sales was reported to be R24 999,00 for cattle, R7 995,00 for sheep and R1 599,00 for goats. These results suggest, that livestock contributes significantly to rural households regardless of the state of ownership, and suggests that agricultural policies that seek to change agrarian and communal rangeland systems should focus on livestock commercialization that favours rural context to improve the rural economy.

Keywords: Beneficial outputs:, Cattle, Household-head, sheep
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