African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6693

Full Length Research Paper

Views and perspectives of local farmers on crop diversification in the North-Western Free State, South Africa

de Bruyn M. A.
  • de Bruyn M. A.
  • Department of Sustainable Food Systems and Development, University of the Free State, South Africa.
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Nel A. A.
  • Nel A. A.
  • Independent Agronomist, Potchefstroom, South Africa.
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van Niekerk J. A.
  • van Niekerk J. A.
  • Department of Sustainable Food Systems and Development, University of the Free State, South Africa.
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  •  Received: 19 July 2022
  •  Accepted: 11 October 2022
  •  Published: 30 November 2022

Abstract

The North-Western Free State is a main contributor of South Africa’s maize production which has recently been put under enormous pressure by climate change, pests, diseases, economic factors and population growth. Crop diversification, by means of crop rotation, has potential to alleviate some of the challenges faced by the farmers and communities of the North-Western Free State. Crop rotation can improve soil health and crop production but has shown to be site-specific. Understanding the views and perspectives of local farmers on crop diversification is an important starting point to determine successful crop rotation programs specific to the area. The objective of this study was to provide a baseline to develop successful crop rotations programs sustainable to the North-Western Free State environment and farmer. A uniquely designed questionnaire was distributed to sixty local farmers. Results showed that the farmers had a positive perception towards crop rotation, with 87% of them rotating their maize, most often with soya beans, sunflower and wheat. A simple linear regression further highlighted that those farmers who rated the relevance of crop diversity high, had a higher degree of diversification. This trend towards perfect diversification is seen as key to sustainable agriculture in the area.

Key words: Crop diversification, crop rotation, North-Western Free State, sustainable agriculture.