Resolution of the existing disconnect between experts and farmers’ insights on sustainable farming requires understanding of the key factors driving farmers’ perceptions on the concept. Interviews were conducted with 160 low-input farmers to evaluate the drivers of their perceptions of sustainable ruminant farming practices in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. It was found that farmers had negative perceptions on rangeland, breeding, livestock security and marketing management practices and positive perceptions on socio-cultural, family health and education practices. The major factors that influenced farmers’ perceptions of sustainable ruminant farming practices include location, age, gender and employment status. Males farming full-time in peri-urban areas were more likely to perceive decreases (p ≤ 0.05) while the young farmers had greater probability to perceive increases (p ≤ 0.05) in ecologically related ruminant farming practices. Married, more educated males farming full-time in rural areas were more likely to perceive decreases (p ≤ 0.05) in economically related ruminant farming practices compared to their counterparts. Young males farming full-time had greater probability to perceive decreases (p ≤ 0.05), whereas rural farmers were more likely to perceive increases (p ≤ 0.05) in socially related ruminant farming practices. These key drivers of farmer’s perceptions could be used to develop context-specific indicators for sustainability assessment and synchronise experts and farmers insights on sustainable ruminant farming.
FunderThe funding contribution of the Department of Science and Technology-National Research Foundation (DST-NRF) Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Food Security (grant number: 140102) is hereby acknowledged.
- Perception index
- Response strategies
- Sustainable livelihoods
- Sustainable ruminant farming
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Economics and Econometrics
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law