Original Research

Quantifying the nutritional and income loss due to crop raiding in rural African subsistence farming community in South Africa

Tlou D. Raphela, Neville Pillay
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 13, No 1 | a1040 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v13i1.1040 | © 2021 Tlou Daisy Raphela, Neville Pillay | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 August 2020 | Published: 30 November 2021

About the author(s)

Tlou D. Raphela, School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, Facult of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Neville Pillay, School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, Facult of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Globally, crop damage by wildlife contributes to food insecurity through direct loss of food and income. We investigated the calories lost and potential economic impact of crop raiding to subsistence homesteads abutting the Hluhluwe Game Reserve and assessed their mitigation measures to combat crop raiding. We quantified the seasonal loss of calories (KJ/g) of four common crops: beetroot (Beta vulgaris), common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), maize (Zea mays) and spinach (Spinacia oleracea) and determined seasonal potential income loss based on local market cost of crops. Experimental data used for this study were collected from April 2016-March 2017 and questionnaire  data were collected in March 2016, using a stratified sampling approach to sample the homesteads. We selected every second homestead for the interview and restricted the survey to one respondent per homestead to avoid pseudo-replication of results. In the one year of sampling, we did not record any large mammals crop raiding, both from direct observations and camera trap footage, we also did not find a statistically significant relationship between the level of damage and distance of farms from the reserve boundary. Throughout the study, we captured a total of 96 individual rodents comprising of two species: red bush rat (Aethomys spp.; 67.7%; 51 males and 28 females) and pouched mouse (Saccostomus campestris; 32.3% (14 females and three males ) and we used the damage caused by these animals and other small animals to quantify the level of damage. We found that season, crop type, farm slope and the interaction between season and crop type were significant predictors of relative calorie loss. Again, season, crop type and the interaction between season and crop type were significant predictors of the potential income loss, with the highest income loss recorded for spinach in the dry season. In addition, significant differences were found for potential income loss for all crop types in the wet season, and for the interaction between crop types maize, spinach and the wet season, but no significant difference was found for crop type common bean and the wet season. A multinomial regression analysis revealed that crop raiding animal type, crop types raided and distance of farms from the reserve all had a significant effect on the choice of mitigation measures farmers used. Most importantly we found the highest relative calorie loss for maize during the dry season, which could impact on subsistence farmers by reducing their daily calorie intake and impact on their food security especially during the season where subsistence farming is slow. Moreover, as the most preferred mitigation measure by farmers can have opportunity costs to this community, such as the loss of school time for children. These  results have important implications for food security policies and socially related policies and practices.


Keywords

crop raiding, economic loss; energy loss; maize; mitigation measures

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