n South African Journal of Agricultural Extension - Factors affecting small-scale sugarcane production in Nkomazi Local Municipality in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa

Volume 47 Number 4
  • ISSN : 0301-603X
  • E-ISSN: 2413-3221



As the South African government forges ahead with its plans for land redistribution, there have been questions raised around factors that currently affect smallholder farmers’ productivity as a means of preparing for the perceived future increase in farmer numbers. Answering these questions is critical for the sugarcane industry that holds a strategic value in South Africa. The present study uses Nkomazi Local Municipality, a prominent sugarcane production area, as a case study to answer some of these questions. The yield and socio-economic characteristics of 127 small-scale sugarcane farmers from the area were collected during one-on-one interviews and the former variable regressed against the later using the Cobb-Douglas production function. The average farmer in the sample produced 201 tonnes of sugarcane, on six hectares of land, applied 13.4 kg of fertilizer per hectare and employed seven labourers. The results of the regression analysis revealed the age of the farmer, farm size, fertilizer quantity, Land Bank’s credit provision, the use of sprinkler irrigation, and land ownership significantly affected the yield of respondents. In light of the findings, the study recommends that efforts be increased to provide the production inputs (fertilizer and land), affordable credit, and advanced and affordable technological inputs as these were found to increase output. Furthermore, the study recommends that farmers’ access to credit be increased in order to increase their agricultural output.

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