Women’s participation in livestock activities under small-scale farming system in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa

Author: S. Mthi, N. Nyangiwe, R. Menhas, A. Mushunje & I.D. Ighodaro
Year: 2018
Issue: 1
Volume: 11
Page: 14 - 21

Women play an important role in livestock production and their contribution remain un-recognized by researchers and policy makers. The study was conducted to investigate the participation of women in livestock production activities at two district municipalities of the Eastern Cape. A simple random sampling technique was used to select five communities in surveyed municipalities and 40 women farmers. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire and was analyze using descriptive statistics. The parameters investigated included age, educational background, marital status, types of livestock raised and their participation in livestock management practices. The study revealed that a mixed crop-livestock production system was dominant in the study sites. More than 60% of women were married and approximately 42.5% of the women were older than 60 years. A total of 45% of these women had basic education with a mean family size of 4.4±3.6. Most of the rural women (62.5%) inherited foundation stock, but 22.5% were obtained from bride price and 15% were bought from neighbouring farmers. Of the agricultural activities, which women participate, caring for sick animals (80.6%) was the highest, followed by cleaning of shelters (66.7%), selling of animal products (50.9%), selling of live animals (40.1%), feeding of animals (36.4%), watering of animals (31%), purchasing feed (27.1%) and milking of animals (25.6%). Taking of animals to grazing (10.9%) and cleaning of feeding troughs (7.7%) were the least activities women performed. Within the context of the study, women play an important role in the livestock sector, therefore government should encourage programs that empower women in various aspects of livestock management and should form part of decision making in livestock production.

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