The Impact of Climate Change on Food Security and Natural Resource Management in Smallholder Crop Farming Systems at Mthonjaneni Local Municipality, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa


  • N. Ndlovu University of the Free State
  • M. Zenda University of the Free State



Smallholder Farmers, Climate Change Impacts, Food Security, Natural Resources Management, Adaptation Strategies


This study assessed the impact of climate change on food security and natural resource management on crop farming systems. Forty-five respondents were interviewed using an open-ended, and structured questionnaire. The open-ended questions allowed respondents to share their thoughts and experiences in their own words, while the structured questions helped to ensure that all respondents were asked the same questions and that the data collected was consistent. The results of this study showed that smallholder farmers perceived an increase in hot days (51.1%), a decrease in rainfall (51.1%), and a decrease in flood occurrence (71.1%). In addition, 95.2% of the respondents indicated that climatic conditions have influenced their farming systems. Natural resource changes noticed by farmers because of climate change include reduced grazing feedlot for livestock farmers (85%), reduced herbaceous cover (80%), decline in volume of water (57.8%), and increased tree damage and land degradation (11.1%). Increased soil erosion (6.7%) and increased bush encroachment (2.2%) were some of the natural resource challenges facing smallholder farmers. Some signs of climate change experienced by farmers included increases in crop pests (71%) and crop disease (8,9%). The adaptation strategies applied included the following: use of water harvesting, use of little soil disturbance techniques, adjusted fertiliser use, application of different planting dates techniques, use of different crop varieties, use of drought tolerant seeds, applied crop diversification, use of techniques that shortened growth length, planting new trees and avoiding planting on sloppy areas, and applied soil conservation techniques. Agriculture extension advisors should address vulnerable systems, including agricultural water and natural resources. In addition, it is important for agriculture extension advisors to strengthen the link between climate change adaptation and key climate change policy processesto improve their effectiveness and ability to deal with the effects of climate change. This will help overcome shortcomings along the food value chain and ensure food security.


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How to Cite

Ndlovu, N., & Zenda, M. (2024). The Impact of Climate Change on Food Security and Natural Resource Management in Smallholder Crop Farming Systems at Mthonjaneni Local Municipality, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension (SAJAE), 52(2), 159–177.

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