Quantifying the nutritional and income loss caused by crop raiding in a rural African subsistence farming community in South Africa
Raphela, Tlou D.
MetadataShow full item record
Globally, crop damage by wildlife contributes to food insecurity through the direct loss of food and income. We investigated the calories lost and the potential economic impact of crop raiding at subsistence homesteads abutting the Hluhluwe Game Reserve, and assessed mitigation measures to combat crop raiding. We quantified the seasonal loss of calories (kJ/g) of four common crops, namely, beetroot, common bean, maize, and spinach, and determined the seasonal potential income loss. We used a stratified sampling approach to sample the homesteads. We found that season, crop type and the interaction between season and crop type predicted relative calorie loss and potential income loss, with the highest income loss recorded for spinach in the dry season. Significant differences were found for the potential income loss for all crop types in the wet season, and for the interaction between the crop types (maize, spinach) and the wet season. Farm slope was also a significant predictor of the relative calorie loss. Crop raiding animals, crops raided and distance of farms from the reserve all had a significant effect on the choice of mitigation measures of farmers. The highest relative calorie loss was for maize during the dry season, which could affect the subsistence farmers by reducing their daily calorie intake. This has an impact on their food security, especially during the dry season. Moreover, the most preferred mitigation measure used by farmers can have opportunity costs. These results have important implications for food security policies and practices.