African Journal of Agriculture and Food Security

African Journal of Agriculture and Food Security Vol. 1 (5), pp. 093-099, November, 2013. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Socio-economic factors affecting smallholder farming and household food security: A case of Thulamela local municipality in Vhembe District of Limpopo Province, South Africa

S. A. Oni1*, L. L. Maliwichi2 and O. S. Obadire3

1Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, School of Agriculture, University of Venda, South Africa.

2Department of Family Ecology and Consumer Science, School of Agriculture, University of Venda, South Africa.

3Centre for Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation, School of Agriculture, University of Venda, South Africa.

*Corresponding author. E-mail: stephen.Oni@univen.ac.za. Tel: (+27) 015 962 8629. Fax: (+27) 015 962 8598.

Accepted 26 August, 2013

Abstract

Most smallholder farmers in the Thulamela local municipality of the Vhembe District have failed to achieve food security in spite of considerable investment in agriculture by the South African government. Many of the programmes failed before they even took off due to some socio-economic constraints. Hence, this study was designed to establish the determinants of household food security and identify critical factors that can be adopted by smallholder farmers in addressing the problems of household food insecurity. A sample of 41 smallholder farmers were randomly selected to participate in the research work using simple random sampling techniques from a list of 120 agricultural projects obtained from the Agricultural Service Centre of Thohoyandou. Structured questionnaire was used to collect the data from the respondents. The study revealed that about 73% of the respondents do not eat the type of food they prefer while 15% of households experienced a worst situation scenario in form of not having enough food to eat. The study finding underscores the need to create an enabling environment for smallholder farmers to improve their levels of productivity through appropriate government policies and strategies and the beneficiaries of government initiatives should be involved in the planning and implementation. Government initiatives need to focus on planning and implementation of smallholder farming, infrastructure/technology development and making land available for smallholder farming.

Key words: Household food security, smallholder farming, poverty, rural livelihood.