Agriculture sector implications of a green economy transition in the Western Cape Province of South Africa : a system dynamics modelling approach to food crop production

Van Niekerk, Jacobus Bosman Smit (2015-12)

Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Western Cape Province of South Africa has introduced a green economy plan called "Green is Smart". This initiative has the envisaged possibility of providing the Province with a sustainable economy. The transition towards a green economy will, however, have implications on the food crop production in the Province. Agriculture is a vital part of the Province's economy and a "systems thinking" approach is required to better understand how this transition will influence food crop production. The aim of this study is then to better understand systems thinking, identify different system modelling approaches, and to better understand how the Western Cape's agriculture acts as a complex system. By achieving this, the green economy transition can be better managed within the Province's food crop production. After reviewing the literature, system dynamics modelling was identified as the preferred modelling technique to better understand the implications of a green economy transition of the Western Cape's food crop production. The model simulates the production for ten different food crops from 2001 until 2040. Food crops are produced with a combination of different framing practices, namely conventional, organic and conservation farming. There are three different green economy scenarios (pessimistic, realistic and optimistic), and one scenario where current practices are continued (business as usual). The model results indicate that all three green economy scenarios will require significant financial investment. The results also indicate that only the optimistic green scenario might be worth the financial investment when considering the potential benefits. The study further provides recommendations for stakeholders in order to help this transition to a green economy within the Western Cape food crop sector. The study highlights the usefulness of using system dynamics to model and better comprehend complex systems. The limitations of system dynamics modelling are also discussed in this study. Difficulties with obtaining historical data and modelling sporadic events are the two most noteworthy limitations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In Suid Afrika word daar tans 'n groen ekonomie raamwerk, naamlik "Green is Smart", voorgestel vir die Provinsie van die Wes-Kaap. Met hierdie raamwerk beoog die Provinsie om sy ekonomie in 'n meer lewensvatbare ekonomie te omskep. Die oorgangsproses na hierdie groen ekonomie gaan wel produksie van voedselgewasse in die Provinsie beïnvloed. Landbou speel 'n kern rol in die Provinsie se ekonomie, en 'n benadering wat die hele stelsel beskryf word daarom benodig om die invloed van hierdie oorgangsproses ten volle te begryp. Die doelwit van hierdie navorsings studie is dan om stelsel denkwyse, verskillende stelsel modellering tegnieke, en hoe die Wes-Kaapse landbou sektor optree as 'n ingewikkelde sisteem, raadsaam te begryp. Deur hierdie ten volle te begryp, kan die oorgangsproses na 'n groen ekonomie volkome bestuur word ten opsigte van voedselgewas produksie in die Provinsie. Nadat die literatuur nageslaan was, is daarop besluit dat stelsel dinamika modellering die gekose manier is om die gevolge van die oorgangsfase in voedselgewas produksie in die Wes-Kaap mee te modelleer. Altesaam is daar tien verskillende voedselgewasse se produksie wat gesimuleer word vanaf 2001 tot 2040. In die model is daar menige produksie kombinasie waarmee voedselgewasse geproduseer word naamlik konvensionele -, organiese - en bewarings produksie. Die studie ondersoek drie verskillende groen ekonomie gevalle (waarvan een 'n negatiewe -, verwagte - en positiewe uitkyk het) en een geval waar die ekonomie voortgaan met huidige beginsels en tegnieke van produksie. Bevindinge van die model resultate let daarop dat 'n noemenswaardige kapitaalbelegging benodig word om enige van die drie organiese gevalle te bewerkstellig. Die resultate dui ook daarop dat die optimisties groen ekonomie geval al geval is wat as die moeite werd beskou kan word, wanneer die moontlike voordele met die kapitaal insette vergelyk word. Die navorsings studie verskaf ook draad aan aandeelhouers en ander partye oor hoe om hierdie oorgangsproses beter te bestuur. Verder word daar ook klem gelê op die nuttigheid van stelsel dinamika modellering vir soortgelyke navorsings probleme. Die beperkinge van stelsel dinamika modellering word ook onder die lesers se aandag gebring. Twee van die noemenswaardigste beperkings is om historiese data te verkry, en die feit dat dit moeilik is om ongereelde gebeurtenisse te simuleer met stelsel dinamika modellering.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98081
This item appears in the following collections: