Smallholder sheep farmers’ perceived impact of water scarcity in the dry ecozones of South Africa: Determinants and response strategies

Twanani Halimani, Tawanda Marandure, Obert C. Chikwanha, Annelin H. Molotsi, Babatunde J. Abiodun, Kennedy Dzama, Cletos Mapiye

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11 Citations (Scopus)
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Water scarcity is amongst the major challenges threatening smallholder sheep production in subsistence-oriented communal farms in dryland areas. Local contextual factors are a prerequisite for effective policy development and optimisation of water resources management for smallholder sheep production. Two-hundred and fifty-two structured questionnaires were administered to investigate the contextual factors that influence smallholder farmers’ perceived impact of water scarcity on sheep production in the dry ecozones of the Cape provinces in South Africa and identify their local response strategies. Logit regression findings showed that a unit increase in private commercially-oriented arid farms, males, education level, flock size, adapted breeds and income from livestock increased farmers’ probability to perceive impact of water scarcity on sheep production. Regardless of ecozone and farm types, sheep farmers switched between water sources, provided supplementary feed and shade, used adapted breeds and alternative markets to manage the impact of water scarcity. Interventions to build resilience to water scarcity in the surveyed areas should target sheep farmers with low adaptive capacity, particularly less educated women relying on livestock income and farming with non-adapted breeds on subsistence-oriented communal farms in the semiarid ecozone.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100369
JournalClimate Risk Management
Early online date29 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Water Research Commission of South Africa, Grant number K5/2973. CM and OCC acknowledge South African Research Chairs Initiative which is partly funded by the South African Department of Science and Technology (UID number: 84633) as administered by the National Research Foundation of South Africa for additional funding and the Post-doctoral Fellowship, respectively.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)


  • Adaptive capacity
  • Dryland
  • Ecozone
  • Resilience
  • Subsistence-oriented farmers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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