Assessing the potential of holistic management in the rural village of Mceula in the Zulukama region, Eastern Cape

Magan, Jiten (2020-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : South Africa is comprised of approximately 80% rangelands, much of which is considered degraded. Rangeland degradation is substantially worse in the former homelands and where people are most reliant on the natural resource base for survival. Holistic Management has been proposed as an alternative that could potentially reverse rangeland degradation occurring on both commercial and communal rangelands. Because it, controversially, proposes increasing stocking rates, it has been viewed with suspicion by many scientists and farmers. Although success with Holistic Management has been documented, both internationally and locally, on commercial farms, it has yet to be evaluated in the former homelands of South Africa. This study evaluated the first pilot project attempting to introduce Holistic Management in the communal village of Mceula in the Ciskei. A case study analysis using semi-structured interviews was used to evaluate the implementation process of Holistic Management and the effect the programme had on the rangeland, livestock and livelihoods of the communal farmers involved. Interviews were conducted with those responsible for the implementation of the project and with communal livestock farmers. A reflexive thematic analysis was then used to identify themes in the interviews and an inductive analysis was used to analyse them. Results showed that there was unanimous agreement that the Holistic Management project was a success. The more immediate and tangible effects of Holistic Management were evident in the improvement of the veld, improvement in livestock survival and an increase in incomes derived from the sale of wool. More intangible effects were evident in the paradigm shift that occurred when farmers began to view grass as an essential part of their livelihood. Equally important was the capacity building that occurred which gave the farmers the tools to manage both their livestock and veld. Further themes were identified, although not articulated in the interviews, and deductive analysis was used to link these to established literature. First, the importance of co-production, second, the assimilation of traditional knowledge into the management framework and third, the ability to manage communal lands in order to prevent tragedy of the commons from occurring. In summary, Holistic Management was successfully implemented in Mceula and although rangeland restoration was not achieved due to an ongoing drought, the veld had improved enough to increase livestock survival and farmers’ incomes. While the Holistic Management system was very effective technically, the method of implementation should not be overlooked and this provided the foundation for the success of the project. Due to the success in Mceula, other villages have requested the Holistic Management training and the project has expanded organically into the surrounding villages.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Suid-Afrika bestaan uit ongeveer 80% veld, waarvan ’n groot deel gedegradeer is. Veld-degradasie is aansienlik ernstiger in die voormalige tuislande en waar mense die meeste afhanklik is van die natuurlike hulpbronbasis vir oorlewing. Holistiese bestuur is voorgestel as ’n alternatief wat moontlik veld-degradasie, wat op beide kommersiële en gemeenskapsvelde voorkom, kan aanspreek. Omdat dit die verhoging van veehoudingkoerse voorstel, wat ’n omstrede onderwerp is, word dit deur baie wetenskaplikes en boere met agterdog bejeën. Alhoewel die sukses van holistiese bestuur al beide internasionaal en plaaslik gedokumenteer is, is dit nog nie in die voormalige tuislande geëvalueer nie. Hierdie studie het die eerste proefprojek geëvalueer in ’n poging om holistiese bestuur in die gemeenskapsdorpie Mceula in die Ciskei te implementeer. ’n Gevallestudie-analise wat gebruik gemaak het van semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude was gebruik om die implementeringsproses van holistiese bestuur en die uitwerking wat die program op die veld, vee, en lewensbestaan van die betrokke gemeenskapsboere gehad het, te evalueer. Onderhoude is gevoer met diegene verantwoordelik vir die implementering van die projek, asook met gemeenskapsveeboere. Refleksiewe tematiese analise is gebruik om temas te identifiseer en induktiewe analise is gebruik om hulle te ontleed. Die resultate het getoon dat daar eenparige ooreenstemming was dat die holistiese bestuurprojek ’n sukses was. Die meer direkte en tasbare uitwerkings op holistiese bestuur was duidelik in die verbetering van die veld, die vee se oorlewingskoers, en die toename in die inkomste vanuit wolverkope. Meer ontasbare uitwerkings was duidelik in die paradigmaskuif wat plaasgevind het toe boere begin het om gras as ’n noodsaaklike deel van hul lewensbestaan te beskou. Ewe belangrik was die kapasiteitsbou wat plaasgevind het wat die boere die vernuf gegee het om beide hul vee en die veld te bestuur. Verdere temas is geïdentifiseer, alhoewel hulle nie in die onderhoude genoem is nie, en deduktiewe analise is gebruik om hierdie temas te koppel aan die bestaande literatuur. Hierdie temas was, eerstens, die belangrikheid van mede-produksie; tweedens, die integrering van tradisionele kennis in die bestuursraamwerk; en derdens, die vermoë om gemeenskapslande te bestuur ten einde die sogenaamde tragedie van die gemeenskaplike (“tragedy of the commons”) te voorkom. Holistiese bestuur was dus suksesvol geïmplementeer in Mceula, en alhoewel veldherstelling nie behaal is nie as gevolg van die voortdurende droogte, het die veld genoegsaam verbeter om die vee se oorlewing en die boere se inkomste te verbeter. Terwyl die holistiese bestuurstelsel tegnies baie doeltreffend was, behoort die metode van implementering nie oor die hoof gesien te word nie, aangesien dit die fondasie vir die sukses van die projek was. As gevolg van die sukses in Mceula, het ander dorpies die holistiese bestuuropleiding aangevra, en die projek het dus organies na die omliggende dorpe uitgebrei.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/108222
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