Impacts of industrial crops on food security in Swaziland, Tshaneni: a system dynamics approach

Van Zyl Engelbrecht, Francois (2018-03)

Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Tshaneni, Swaziland has seen a prolific expansion in the cultivation of industrial crops over the last two decades. The effect of these industrial crops on local and regional food security is unclear. This is because there are multiple drivers of food security in the region. Drivers of food security span the economic, social, and agronomic sector and the interactions within, and between, these sectors mean that the food security system is complex. To explore the effect of industrial crops on food security the systems thinking approach is used to aid in system understanding. The aim of this study is to use systems thinking to analyse the food security system in Tshaneni Swaziland, to build a conceptual model of the system using causal loop diagrams, and to build a fully executional computer-based simulation to model the system quantitatively. A review of the literature revealed system dynamics as the most suitable modelling methodology for this study. The model consists of six sub-models that represent the real system. The sub-models include economic, production, and consumption feedbacks at the household level, where both food crop and industrial crop cultivation is simulated. The model is driven by a combination of external drivers, such as environmental conditions, and internal drivers, such as human decisions. The amount of money and food (in calories) available to the household are used as the food security indicators. The model is run for five different scenarios covering a twenty-year period from 2016 to 2035. These are analysed in order to determine the impact of industrial crops, in this case sugarcane, on food security. Results show that household involvement in sugarcane leads to increased levels of food security, mainly because of an increase in money available and irrigation for food crop production. Education and occupation were additional factors found to play a major role in increasing food security. Scenarios that explored the impact of climate change and potential water scarcity revealed that households in Tshaneni, Swaziland remain vulnerable to drought in terms of food security. However, those households involved in industrial crop cultivation are less vulnerable to climatic conditions than households that farm only food crops. This is because cultivating industrial crops leads to increased access to irrigation, which is also used for small plots of food crops. Based on the findings of this research project, it is advocated that smallholder farmers engage in the cultivation of sugarcane, especially in the context of large state-supported projects that have significant private sector buy-in, such as that in Tshaneni. The study further provides recommendations to stakeholders and policymakers to continue to invest in the sugar cane industry to ensure a food secure future for Swaziland and its people. Benefits of system dynamics are provided and recommendations are made to future researchers attempting to improve this research.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Tshaneni, Swaziland het oor die laaste twee dekades vreeslik baie industrieële gewas uitbreiding gesien. Die impak wat uitbreidings soos hierdie op voedselsekerheid het in hierdie konteks is onbekend as gevolg van sisteem kompleksiteit. Industrieë gewasse het baie positiewe (mense verdien meer geld) en negatiewe (mense plant nie meer so baie voedsel gewasse nie) gevolge en daarom is die antwoord nie so vanselfsprekend nie. Om hierdie effek van industrieële gewasse op voedselsekerheid te verstaan word daar van ‘n stelsels denkwyse gebruik gemaak. ‘n Spesifieke modellerings metode moet geïdentifiseer word, genoeg kennis moet opgedoen word om ‘n uitgebreide model te bou en die invloed wat partye op mekaar in die sisteem het moet ten volle verstaan word. Die doel van hierdie studie is om stelsels denkwyse te gebruik om voedselsekerheid in Tshaneni Swaziland te analiseer deur ‘n konseptuele model asook ‘n rekenaar simulasie model van die sisteem te bou. Na die bestudering van literatuur, was stelsels dinamika geïdentifiseer as die verlangde modellerings metode en die model was gebou. Die model bestaan uit ses sub-modelle wat die werklike sisteem simuleer vanaf 2016 tot en met 2035. Die sub-modelle sluit ekonomiese, produksie en verbruiks modelle op huishoudelike vlak in. Voedsel gewas en industrieële gewas produksie is gemodelleer. Die model word deur beide omgewings en mense besluitneemings faktore beïnvloed. Voedselsekerheid word deur die vier pilare beskryf wat gedefineer is deur die “FAO”. Hierdie sluit in toegang, beskikbaarheid, stabiliteit en benutting van voedsel. Twee veranderlikes naamlik “Money available” en “Calories available” word gebruik om ‘n huishouding se voedselsekerheid aan te dui. “Money available” verteenwoordig voedsel toegang en stabiliteit terwyl “Calories available” voedsel beskikbaarheid en stabiliteit verteenwoordig. Vyf verskillende scenario's word gebruik om die vraag rakende die impak van industrieële gewasse op voedselsekerheid te antwoord, maar elk vanuit ‘n ander perspektief. Die model resultate bewys dat betrokkenheid, op enige manier by industrieële gewas uitbreiding, lei tot beter voedselsekerheid as gevolg van besproeings moontlikhede en hoër inkomstes. Daar was gevind dat opvoeding en beroep keuses twee adisionele veranderlikes is wat ‘n belangrike rol speel om voedselsekerheid te verseker. Bykomend word daar bewys deur ‘n scenario wat die impakte van klimaats verandering op voedselsekerheid toets, dat die mense van Tshaneni Swaziland, baie kwesbaar is teenoor droogte. Huishouding tipes word gerangskik volgens voedselsekerheid’s vlak. Die beste en slegste huishoudelike samestellings word ook gelys in terme van voedselsekerheid. Die studie verskaf verder voorstelle aan belanghebbendes en beleidmakers om aan te hou belê in die suiker industrie om ‘n voedselseker toekoms vir Swaziland en sy mense te verseker. Sekere model tekortkominge word beskryf en verduidelik. Daar word uitgebrei oor die voordele van stelsels dinamika en voorstelle word gemaak aan toekomstige navorsers wat dieselfde navorsingsveld wil betree.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103393
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