Development of a decision support system for assessing alternative agriculture land uses: A case study of the Stellenbosch wine region

De Villiers, Jeanne-Mari (2018-03)

Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The South African wine industry is one of the oldest wine industries in the world apart from Europe and the Mediterranean. The wine industry, according to SAWIS (2015), is one of the biggest agriculture exporters and was responsible for 1.2% of the national GDP in 2013. Of the total contribution of R36.1 billion to the GDP, almost R20 billion (53%) was created in the Western Cape. By volume, South Africa is the eighth-largest national wine producer in the world (SAWIS, 2015a). According to SAWIS (2015) increased production costs and an increased number of competitors have placed mounting pressure on the profitability margins of the South African wine industry. The current drought coupled with the increasing pressure on profitability margins, requires wine estates to re-evaluate their business strategies to ensure economic sustainability. Therefore, many wine estates are investigating diversification opportunities. It is however a complex task to undertake and many wine farmers do not have the adequate experience outside of the wine industry. Thus, there exists an opportunity to develop a decision support system (DSS) that will aid farmers with the decision-making process regarding alternative selection. This study focussed on providing agricultural decision-makers, who are considering to adopt an agricultural diversification strategy, with a set of considerations to evaluate land use alternatives in a particular area by making use of a decision support system (DSS). Agriculture diversification refers to farms that are participating in diversification of agricultural activities where income is generated from more than one agricultural enterprise. This study specifically focussed on crop alternatives (thus excluding other opportunities such as livestock). A set of considerations that agricultural decision makers can use to guide them during the decision-making process had to be identified. It was crucial that it should be a holistic set that includes aspects regarding the whole farming operation and not just one aspect such as climate when evaluating the suitability of crops for a specific region. The identified considerations are not bound to a specific area and are therefore applicable to all regions. The identified considerations together with design requirements that had to be developed were incorporated into the design of the DSS model. Both the set of identified considerations and the design requirements had to be in accordance with literature and inputs from experts to ensure that the best possible DSS could be designed. The developed DSS uses user inputs to compare different land use alternative types with one another per consideration. The Stellenbosch area was used as a case study scenario for the application of the developed DSS. An internal validation was performed by creating different scenarios to test the logical workings and coding of the developed DSS. Subject matter experts were consulted thereafter to validate the developed DSS and to evaluate and thus incorporate reliability and credibility into the DSS.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid-Afrikaanse wynindustrie is een van die oudste wynindustrieë in die wêreld uitsluitend Europa en die Meditereense lande. Volgens SAWIS (2015) is die Suid-Afrikaanse wynindustrie een van die grootste landbou uitvoerders en was dit verantwoordelik vir 1.2% van die nasionale Bruto Binnelandse Produk (BBP) in 2013. Amper R20 miljard (53%) van die totale bydrae van R36.1 miljard tot die BBP was gegenereer in die Wes-Kaap. Suid-Afrika is in terme van volume die agtste grootste wynprodusent in die wêreld (SAWIS, 2015a). Volgens SAWIS (2015) plaas stygende produksiekoste en toenemende kompetisie geleidelik meer druk op die winsmarges van die Suid-Afrikaanse wynindustrie. Die droogte wat tans ervaar word tesame met die toenemende druk op winsmarges, vereis dat wynplase hul besigheidstrategieë herevalueer om ekonomiese volhoubaarheid te verseker. Dit het tot gevolg dat baie wynplase diversifiserings geleenthede ondersoek. Dit is egter ‘n komplekse taak om te onderneem en baie wynplase het nie genoegsame ondervinding buite die wynbedryf nie. Daar bestaan dus ‘n geleentheid om ‘n besluit steun stelsel (BSS) te ontwikkel. Dié stelsel sal boere ondersteun in die besluitnemingproses ten opsigte van alternatiewe opsies. Dié studie se fokus is om aan lanbou besluitnemers wat landbou diversifikasie oorweeg, ‘n stel inagnemings te verskaf om alternatiewe te evalueer deur gebruik te maak van ‘n ondersteuningstelsel vir besluitneming. Landboudiversifikasie verwys na plase wat deelneem aan diversifikasie van landbou aktiwiteite, waar inkomste gegenereer word van uit meer as net een landbou onderneming. Hierdie studie fokus slegs op gewas alternatiewe, dus sal ander opsies soos veëboerdery uitgesluit word. n Stel inagnemings wat landbou besluitnemers kan gebruik om hulle leiding te gee tydens die besluitnemingsproses, moes geïdentifiseer word. Dit was noodsaaklik dat die stel inagnemings holisties moes wees. Dit moet dus aspekte van die hele boerdery insluit en nie net fokus op seker aspekte soos klimaat, om die geskiktheid van gewasse vir ‘n gebied te bepaal nie. Die geïdentifiseerde inagnemings is nie beperk tot ‘n spesifieke gebied nie en is dus geskik vir alle streke. Hierdie kriteria asook die ontwerpvereistes wat ontwikkel moes word, was ingesluit in die ontwerp van die BSS model. Om te verseker dat die bes moontlike BSS ontwerp word, moes beide die stel geïdentifiseerde kriteria asook die ontwerpvereistes ooreenstem met die literatuur en insette van kenners. Die ontwikkelde BSS maak gebruik van gebruikers insette om verskillende grondgebruik alternatiewe per inagneming te vergelyk. Die Stellenbosch area is gebruik vir gevallestudie scenario doeleindes vir die toepassing van die ontwikkelde BSS. ‘n Interne validasie is gedoen deur verskeie scenarios te ontwikkel om die logiese werking en kodering van die ontwikkelde BSS te toets. Vakkundiges is daarna geraadpleeg om die ontwikkelde BSS te valideer en om dit te evalueer om sodoende betroubaarheid en geloofwaardigheid daaraan te gee.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103374
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