Gender disparities in poverty among smallholder livestock farmers in South Africa
This paper analyses gender disparities in poverty and the determinants of poverty among smallholder communal livestock farmers across five provinces in South Africa. A combination of multi-stage and stratified sampling techniques were used to select 591 farmers across the provinces. The Foster, Greer and Thorbecke (FGT) poverty indices were used to determine the extent and severity of poverty among smallholder livestock farmers. The results of the FGT analysis revealed that poverty is prevalent among smallholder livestock farmers but more pronounced among female-headed households. A binary logit regression was used to determine the predictors of poverty among communal livestock owners. Factors such as level of education, gender of household head, access to markets and extension services reduce the probability of a household becoming poor. Conversely, factors such as household size and access to credit had a negative effect on household well-being. These results highlight the importance of strengthening institutions (extension, livestock farmer organisations and markets) to improve smallholder livestock systems. Further, the study recommends that agricultural extension services should integrate gender mainstreaming in interventions that target smallholder communal livestock farmers, and that rural development projects should focus on interventions that aim at diversifying farm income.
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