Constraints to the sustainability of a ‘systematised’ approach to livestock marketing amongst smallholder cattle producers in South Africa

Lovemore Christopher Gwiriri, James Bennett, Cletos Mapiye, Tawanda Marandure, Sara Burbi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)
    251 Downloads (Pure)


    Commercialization of smallholder agriculture in South Africa is underpinned by reforms to improve livestock off-take in communal areas and engage smallholder farmers with formal markets. To achieve this, Custom Feeding Programmes (CFPs) were established to improve the condition of communal cattle prior to their sale into formal markets and to ‘systematise’ the informal marketing of cattle in communal areas by enabling participants to achieve higher informal market prices. We evaluate the sustainability of eight CFPs located in Eastern Cape Province in terms of their ability to add value to smallholder cattle production and encourage market participation. Communities with CFPs achieved a 16.6% mean cattle off-take rate, substantially higher than in most communal systems. Furthermore, cattle sold through CFPs attained a 17% higher mean selling price than those sold through other marketing channels. However, these benefits were mainly realized by better-off farmers with larger cattle herds and greater ability to transport animals to and from CFPs. More marginalized farmers, particularly women, had low participation. CFPs also face challenges to their sustainability, including inconsistent feed and water supplies, poor infrastructure and high staff turnover. Key to enhancing participation in CFPs, will be improving the way they are supported and embedded within communities.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)189-204
    Number of pages16
    JournalInternational Journal of Agricultural Sustainability
    Issue number2
    Early online date19 Mar 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability on 19/03/2019, available online:[DOI]

    Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


    • custom feeding programme
    • livelihoods
    • Smallholder livestock marketing
    • South Africa
    • sustainability

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Agronomy and Crop Science
    • Economics and Econometrics


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