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Livelihood strategies and their determinants among smallholder farming households in KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa

Collin L. Yobe, Maxwell Mudhara and Paramu Mafongoya

Agrekon, 2019, vol. 58, issue 3, 340-353

Abstract: Rural people seek diverse opportunities to increase and stabilise their welfare. An understanding of factors that influence livelihood strategies adopted across rural households can further improve policy-making. This study identifies livelihood strategies adopted by smallholder farmers and the factors influencing the choice of their strategy. A structured questionnaire was administered to 400 randomly selected rural households from the Umzimkhulu and Ndwedwe local municipalities in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. Principal component analysis (PCA) and K-means cluster analysis were used to analyse the outcomes. The application of PCA on dummy variables depicting participation in livelihood activities reduced the number of dimensions. Next, PCA factor loadings served as input into K-means cluster analysis; K-means clusters represented household livelihood strategies. Multinomial logistic regression applied to the K-means clusters determined factors influencing the choice of livelihood strategies at the household level. The results indicate that years of formal education, household size, dependency ratio, arable dryland area accessed by the household, and savings of household heads, the location of the household and source of agricultural information were the main determinants of livelihood choice. These findings suggest that policymakers should design policies that are sensitive to household-level characteristics in promoting livelihood strategies.

Date: 2019
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