Rural Community Perceptions on Land Use Change and its Effects on Their Agricultural Practices in Vulindlela Traditional Area, Kwazulu-Natal Province of South Africa
Keywords:Rural communities, Land use change, Agricultural practices, De-agrarianisation
This study assessed the level of awareness among the Vulindlela rural community regarding land use and land cover changes occurring in their community. Additionally, this study sought to examine the effects of these land use and land cover changes on the agricultural practices of the Vulindlela rural community. The study employs a mixed-methods approach, combining qualitative and quantitative methods. Secondary data from Statistics South Africa and the Msunduzi Local Municipality were used to determine the relationship between population growth and housing unit expansion. Primary data were collected through semi-structured interviews to capture the community’s perceptions of land use change and its impacts on agricultural activities. The study results indicated a strong relationship (r = 0.81, t = 2.39, df = 3, p = 0.10) between population growth and an increase in housing units. Respondents also noted that land use and cover change has occurred in Vulindlela. The driver of this change is an increase in residential housing units built on land designated for agriculture (crop and pastoral fields). Residential development on agricultural fields is a result of the de-agrarianisation by the local community. De-agrarianisation drivers in Vulindlela include a lack of agricultural equipment, high costs (time and money) associated with agriculture, inadequate government support, increased dependence on government grants and lack of interest in the younger generation in agriculture.
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