A journey without maps: towards sustainable subsistence agriculture in South Africa

S. Adey

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WUAcademic

Abstract

Participatory technology development within the subsistence-farming sector in South Africa is receiving increasing attention. Linked to this is an interest in sustainable development, particularly for agricultural interventions. Ecological approaches to agriculture have largely been considered unable to provide a route for income generation.  However, some promising examples of sustainable small-scale farming systems can be found in South Africa.  The main aim of this thesis was to identify factors within these development programmes that led to sustainable technology development in the context of subsistence farmers’ livelihoods. This objective was achieved through exploring practically, the concepts derived from the sustainability paradigm. To be sustainable, a farming system should be biologically, technically and socially feasible and viable at farm level, within a positive and enhancing external environment.  Sustainability ultimately concerns the relationships between all elements of the farming system and for this reason researching sustainability in agriculture requires a multi-level, multi-aspect and multi-actor approach. Sustainability was explored in three case studies in this thesis and at a number of levels: field level; farm and district level, including organizational interaction. Different aspects were researched that included agricultural technologies, household livelihoods and organizational development.  The various actors involved in the technology-development process examined in the three case studies included farmers, change-agents, researchers and local traditional authorities.  Interactions at all three levels influenced and contributed to the overall sustainability of the development intervention and this research supports the widely demonstrated conclusion that the challenges faced by agriculture will not readily be solved by technological interventions at the field level alone. The factors at each of the levels that contributed to the sustainability of the develop projects are presented and the lessons learned from the three case studies are also given.         
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Wiskerke, Han, Promotor
  • Rijkenberg, F.H.J., Co-promotor, External person
Award date15 Nov 2007
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Fingerprint

subsistence farming
South Africa
farming systems
agriculture
case studies
livelihood
farmers
sustainable technology
small-scale farming
farms
research support
program planning
sustainable agriculture
sustainable development
households
income
researchers

Keywords

  • development
  • sociology
  • participation
  • technical progress
  • subsistence farming
  • sustainability
  • rural development
  • soil fertility
  • economic development
  • social development
  • institutions
  • crafts
  • natural resources
  • resource management
  • home gardens
  • homesteading
  • south africa
  • livelihood strategies
  • soil fertility management

Cite this

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title = "A journey without maps: towards sustainable subsistence agriculture in South Africa",
abstract = "Participatory technology development within the subsistence-farming sector in South Africa is receiving increasing attention. Linked to this is an interest in sustainable development, particularly for agricultural interventions. Ecological approaches to agriculture have largely been considered unable to provide a route for income generation.  However, some promising examples of sustainable small-scale farming systems can be found in South Africa.  The main aim of this thesis was to identify factors within these development programmes that led to sustainable technology development in the context of subsistence farmers’ livelihoods. This objective was achieved through exploring practically, the concepts derived from the sustainability paradigm. To be sustainable, a farming system should be biologically, technically and socially feasible and viable at farm level, within a positive and enhancing external environment.  Sustainability ultimately concerns the relationships between all elements of the farming system and for this reason researching sustainability in agriculture requires a multi-level, multi-aspect and multi-actor approach. Sustainability was explored in three case studies in this thesis and at a number of levels: field level; farm and district level, including organizational interaction. Different aspects were researched that included agricultural technologies, household livelihoods and organizational development.  The various actors involved in the technology-development process examined in the three case studies included farmers, change-agents, researchers and local traditional authorities.  Interactions at all three levels influenced and contributed to the overall sustainability of the development intervention and this research supports the widely demonstrated conclusion that the challenges faced by agriculture will not readily be solved by technological interventions at the field level alone. The factors at each of the levels that contributed to the sustainability of the develop projects are presented and the lessons learned from the three case studies are also given.         ",
keywords = "ontwikkeling, sociologie, participatie, technische vooruitgang, zelfvoorzieningslandbouw, duurzaamheid (sustainability), plattelandsontwikkeling, bodemvruchtbaarheid, economische ontwikkeling, sociale ontwikkeling, instellingen, kunstnijverheid, natuurlijke hulpbronnen, hulpbronnenbeheer, gezinstuinen, voeren van een landbouwhuishouding, zuid-afrika, strategie{\"e}n voor levensonderhoud, bodemvruchtbaarheidsbeheer, development, sociology, participation, technical progress, subsistence farming, sustainability, rural development, soil fertility, economic development, social development, institutions, crafts, natural resources, resource management, home gardens, homesteading, south africa, livelihood strategies, soil fertility management",
author = "S. Adey",
note = "WU thesis, no. 4311, fout-isbn 978908504743X",
year = "2007",
language = "English",
publisher = "S.n.",
school = "Wageningen University",

}

Adey, S 2007, 'A journey without maps: towards sustainable subsistence agriculture in South Africa', Doctor of Philosophy, Wageningen University, [S.l.].

A journey without maps: towards sustainable subsistence agriculture in South Africa. / Adey, S.

[S.l.] : S.n., 2007. 242 p.

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WUAcademic

TY - THES

T1 - A journey without maps: towards sustainable subsistence agriculture in South Africa

AU - Adey, S.

N1 - WU thesis, no. 4311, fout-isbn 978908504743X

PY - 2007

Y1 - 2007

N2 - Participatory technology development within the subsistence-farming sector in South Africa is receiving increasing attention. Linked to this is an interest in sustainable development, particularly for agricultural interventions. Ecological approaches to agriculture have largely been considered unable to provide a route for income generation.  However, some promising examples of sustainable small-scale farming systems can be found in South Africa.  The main aim of this thesis was to identify factors within these development programmes that led to sustainable technology development in the context of subsistence farmers’ livelihoods. This objective was achieved through exploring practically, the concepts derived from the sustainability paradigm. To be sustainable, a farming system should be biologically, technically and socially feasible and viable at farm level, within a positive and enhancing external environment.  Sustainability ultimately concerns the relationships between all elements of the farming system and for this reason researching sustainability in agriculture requires a multi-level, multi-aspect and multi-actor approach. Sustainability was explored in three case studies in this thesis and at a number of levels: field level; farm and district level, including organizational interaction. Different aspects were researched that included agricultural technologies, household livelihoods and organizational development.  The various actors involved in the technology-development process examined in the three case studies included farmers, change-agents, researchers and local traditional authorities.  Interactions at all three levels influenced and contributed to the overall sustainability of the development intervention and this research supports the widely demonstrated conclusion that the challenges faced by agriculture will not readily be solved by technological interventions at the field level alone. The factors at each of the levels that contributed to the sustainability of the develop projects are presented and the lessons learned from the three case studies are also given.         

AB - Participatory technology development within the subsistence-farming sector in South Africa is receiving increasing attention. Linked to this is an interest in sustainable development, particularly for agricultural interventions. Ecological approaches to agriculture have largely been considered unable to provide a route for income generation.  However, some promising examples of sustainable small-scale farming systems can be found in South Africa.  The main aim of this thesis was to identify factors within these development programmes that led to sustainable technology development in the context of subsistence farmers’ livelihoods. This objective was achieved through exploring practically, the concepts derived from the sustainability paradigm. To be sustainable, a farming system should be biologically, technically and socially feasible and viable at farm level, within a positive and enhancing external environment.  Sustainability ultimately concerns the relationships between all elements of the farming system and for this reason researching sustainability in agriculture requires a multi-level, multi-aspect and multi-actor approach. Sustainability was explored in three case studies in this thesis and at a number of levels: field level; farm and district level, including organizational interaction. Different aspects were researched that included agricultural technologies, household livelihoods and organizational development.  The various actors involved in the technology-development process examined in the three case studies included farmers, change-agents, researchers and local traditional authorities.  Interactions at all three levels influenced and contributed to the overall sustainability of the development intervention and this research supports the widely demonstrated conclusion that the challenges faced by agriculture will not readily be solved by technological interventions at the field level alone. The factors at each of the levels that contributed to the sustainability of the develop projects are presented and the lessons learned from the three case studies are also given.         

KW - ontwikkeling

KW - sociologie

KW - participatie

KW - technische vooruitgang

KW - zelfvoorzieningslandbouw

KW - duurzaamheid (sustainability)

KW - plattelandsontwikkeling

KW - bodemvruchtbaarheid

KW - economische ontwikkeling

KW - sociale ontwikkeling

KW - instellingen

KW - kunstnijverheid

KW - natuurlijke hulpbronnen

KW - hulpbronnenbeheer

KW - gezinstuinen

KW - voeren van een landbouwhuishouding

KW - zuid-afrika

KW - strategieën voor levensonderhoud

KW - bodemvruchtbaarheidsbeheer

KW - development

KW - sociology

KW - participation

KW - technical progress

KW - subsistence farming

KW - sustainability

KW - rural development

KW - soil fertility

KW - economic development

KW - social development

KW - institutions

KW - crafts

KW - natural resources

KW - resource management

KW - home gardens

KW - homesteading

KW - south africa

KW - livelihood strategies

KW - soil fertility management

M3 - internal PhD, WU

PB - S.n.

CY - [S.l.]

ER -