African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6578

Full Length Research Paper

An assessment of support provided to smallholder farmers: A case study of the Vhembe District, South Africa

Phineas Khazamula Chauke*, Thizwilondi Dennis Nekhavhambe and Tichaona Kudakwashe Pfumayaramba
The School of Agriculture, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, 0950, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 18 February 2013
  •  Published: 04 April 2013


This paper assesses some support strategies provided to randomly selected smallholder irrigation farmers in Vhembe District, South Africa. Although irrigation farmers were selected as units of study, the focus is on all smallholder farmers. In particular the study investigates the extent to which smallholder farmers benefited from the new government policy of redressing injustices in South Africa by providing support to the previously disadvantaged in the country’s rural areas. The study established the dominance of men and the elderly, less educated members, poor access to credit, non-membership to cooperatives, and substantial access to irregular extension services, and dependence on other farmers for market information. Inferential statistical analyses detected a negative impact of educational achievement and investment in production costs (inputs) to accessing credit. Amongst others the study recommended planned exit strategies for elderly farmers, support to new entrants (graduates), exposure to beneficial effects of cooperation and dependence on traditional market information sources, rather than ill-informed colleagues in the smallholder farming sector.


Key words: Support, smallholder farmers, extension, cooperative, credit, market information, production inputs.