Authors: N Patience Manzana, Cheryl M E McCrindle, P Julius Sebei & Leon Prozesky

Keyword: agricultural productivity, small-scale farmers, small-scale food producers, South Africa, North West


Agenda 2063: A1

Land redistribution was legislated in 1994; it was designed to resolve historical imbalances inland ownership in South Africa. Between 2002 and 2006, a longitudinal observational studywas conducted with 15 purposively selected small-scale dairy farmers in a land redistributionproject in Central North West Province. Four farmers left the project over the period. For thepurposes of this study, a small-scale dairy farm was defined as a farm that produces less than500 L of milk a day, irrespective of the number of cows or size of the farm. The study wasconducted in three phases. In the first phase, situational analysis using participatory ruralappraisal (PRA) and observation was used to outline the extent of the constraints and designappropriate interventions. Feeds that were used were tested and evaluated. In the secondphase, three different feeding systems were designed from the data obtained from PRA. Thesewere: (1) A semi-intensive farm-based ration using available crops, pastures and crop residueswith minimal rations purchased. (2) An intensive, zero-grazing dairy system using a totalmixed ration. (3) A traditional, extensive or dual-purpose system, where the calf drank fromthe cow until weaning and milking was done only once a day. In the third phase, adoptionwas monitored. By July 2006, all remaining farmers had changed to commercially formulatedrations or licks and the body condition score of the cows had improved. It was concluded thatveterinary extension based on PRA and a holistic systems approach was a good option forsuch complex problems. Mentoring by commercial dairy farmers, veterinary and extensionservices appeared to be viable. Further research should be done to optimise the traditionalmodel of dairy farming, as this was relatively profitable, had a lower risk and was less labour intensive.