The impact of agroecology training on the adaptability of smallholder communities to climate change in the Mopani district of Limpopo

Giliam, Amy Tarryn (2018-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Climate change is expected to increasingly affect global food security, food production, and smallholders as severe weather patterns become more frequent. Within this context, this study assessed the impact of agroecology training on smallholders’ adaptability to climate change through a case study of smallholders in Limpopo. Four research questions were selected to explore this topic through two research designs. A literature review was used to answer the first research question (i), which centred on examining how agroecology could influence the adaptability of smallholders in the face of climate change. A case study design was chosen to answer the three remaining research questions, namely: (ii) whether the leadership component of an agroecology training course enabled trainers to transfer agroecology knowledge to smallholders, and (iii) identifying the adaptive strategies smallholders were using before and (iv) after agroecology training. The following elements were used to design the case study: the research questions, the research focus, the conceptual framework, methods for data collection (interviews, observation, analysis of documentary evidence), and a thematic data analysis approach. To answer question i, I reviewed literature on adaptability and agroecology (as a science, movement, and practice). In doing so, I developed a conceptual framework to illustrate the link between adaptability and agroecology, which enabled me to argue that agroecology has the potential to increase smallholders’ adaptability. The main finding for question ii was that the leadership component of the agroecology training course had enabled trainers to transfer their knowledge to smallholders by encouraging different types of learning. The key finding for question iii was that adaptive strategies enabled through certain networks were limited, as smallholders were still reliant on coping strategies through conventional extension networks. For question iv, I found that smallholder communities are closer to becoming adaptive communities since undergoing the agroecology training, due to a shift from coping to adaptive strategies. A number of recommendations are proposed for 17 Shaft, the Southern Africa Food Lab, and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Recommendations for 17 Shaft include: placing more emphasis on certain leadership behaviours, self-esteem, and gender specific components of the course, and establishing a partnership with postgraduate programmes for continuous evaluation of training. It is recommended that the Southern Africa Food Lab uses its network to facilitate further conversations between smallholders, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and academia, specifically to develop a more detailed categorisation of smallholders. The following recommendations were identified for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: improving extension support for smallholders by developing in-community trainers, and inspiring youth into agriculture through communities of practice.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Daar word verwag dat klimaatsverandering toenemend die wêreld se voedselsekuriteit, voedselproduksie, en kleinboere sal beïnvloed soos strawwe weerstoestande toeneem. Gegewe hierdie konteks, het hierdie studie deur middel van ’n gevallestudie op kleinboere in Limpopo bepaal hoe opleiding in agro-ekologie hul aanpasbaarheid kan beïnvloed. Vier navorsingsvrae is gekies om hierdie onderwerp deur middel van twee navorsingsontwerpe te ondersoek. ’n Literatuuroorsig is gebruik om die eerste navorsingsvraag te beantwoord, naamlik: (i) Hoe beïnvloed agro-ekologie die aanpasbaarheid van kleinboere met betrekking tot klimaatsverandering as ’n faktor? ’n Gevallestudieontwerp is gekies om die oorblywende navorsingsvrae te beantwoord, naamlik: (ii) Het die leierskapkomponent van ’n opleidingskursus in agro-ekologie die instrukteurs in staat gestel om kennis van agro-ekologie aan kleinboere oor te dra? (iii) Watter aanpassingstrategieë het kleinboere voor die agro-ekologie-opleiding gebruik? (iv) Watter aanpassingstrategieë het kleinboere ná die agro-ekologie-opleiding gebruik? Die volgende elemente is gebruik vir die ontwerp van die gevallestudie: die navorsingsvrae, die navorsingsfokus, die konseptuele raamwerk, dataversamelingmetodes (onderhoude, waarneming, ontleding van dokumentêre bewyse), en ’n tematiese benadering tot data-ontleding. Ten einde navorsingsvraag (i) te kon beantwoord, het ek ‘n aanpasbaarheid en agro-ekologie literatuurondersoek ingestel (as ’n wetenskap, beweging, en praktyk). Sodoende kon ek ‘n konseptuele raamwerk ontwikkel om die verhouding tussen aanpasbaarheid en agro-ekologie te illustreer. Daardeur kon ek die argument ontwickel dat agro-ekologie die potensiaal het om kleinboerdery se aanpasbaarheid te kan verhoog. Die hoofbevinding van navorsingsvraag (ii) was dat die leierskapkomponent van die agro-ekologie-opleidingskursus die instrukteurs in staat gestel het om hul kennis aan kleinboere oor te dra deur verskillende soorte leer aan te moedig. Die hoofbevinding van navorsingsvraag (iii) was dat aanpassingstrategieë wat deur sekere netwerke in werking gestel is, beperk was, aangesien kleinboere steeds staatgemaak het op hanteringstrategieë deur middel van konvensionele hulpnetwerke. Die hoofbevinding van navorsingsvraag (iv) was dat kleinboergemeenskappe nader daaraan beweeg om aanpasbare gemeenskappe te word ná hul agro-ekologie-opleiding ontvang het omdat hulle geskuif het van hanteringstrategieë na aanpassingstrategieë. Aanbevelings word gemaak vir 17 Shaft, die Southern Africa Food Lab, en die Departement van Landbou, Bosbou en Visserye. Aanbevelings vir 17 Shaft sluit in: plaas meer klem op sekere leierskapgedrag, selfagting, en geslagspesifieke komponente van die kursus, en bou ’n vennootskap met nagraadse programme vir aaneenlopende evaluering van opleiding. Dit word aanbeveel dat die Southern Africa Food Lab hul netwerk gebruik om verdere gesprekke tussen kleinboere, die Departement van Landbou, Bosbou en Visserye, en die akademiese wêreld te fasiliteer, spesifiek om ’n meer gedetailleerde kategorisering van kleinboere te ontwikkel. Die volgende aanbevelings word vir die Departement van Landbou, Bosbou en Visserye gemaak: verbeter landbou-ondersteuning vir kleinboere deur instrukteurs binne gemeenskappe te ontwikkel, en inspireer die jeug om landbou na te volg deur middel van praktiserende gemeenskappe.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103862
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