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2 Political Economy of Integrated Soil Fertility Management in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
Although many factors play a significant role in agricultural production and productivity, the importance of soil fertility cannot be underestimated. The extent to which small farmers are able to manage the fertility of their farmlands is crucial in agricultural development particularly in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This paper assesses the nutrient status of selected farmers’ fields in relation to how government policy addresses the allocation of and access to agricultural inputs (e.g. chemical fertilizers) in a unique social-ecological environment of the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana. It also analyses small farmers and soil scientists’ perceptions about the political economy of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) in the area. A multi-stage sampling procedure was used to elicit quantitative and qualitative information from 228 farmers and 9 soil researchers through the use of interview schedules and questionnaires, respectively. Knowledge validation workshops and focus group discussions (FGDs) were also used to collect qualitative data from farmers. Thirty-three composite soil samples were collected from 30 farmers’ plots in three farming communities of Makalamabedi, Nokaneng and Mohembo for laboratory analysis. While meeting points exist, farmers and scientists have divergent perspectives on soil fertility management. Laboratory analysis carried out shows that most soils in the wetland and the adjoining dry-land/upland surroundings are low in essential nutrients as well as in cation exchange capacity (CEC). Although results suggest the identification and use of appropriate inorganic fertilizers, the low CEC is an indication that holistic cultural practices, which are beyond mere chemical fertilizations, are critical and more desirable for improved soil health and sustainable livelihoods in the area. Farmers’ age (t= -0.728; p≤0.10); their perceptions about the political economy (t = -0.485; p≤0.01) of ISFM; and their preference for the use of local knowledge in soil fertility management (t = -10.254; p≤0.01) had a significant relationship with how they perceived their involvement in the implementation of ISFM.Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 2152
1 Increase Success by Decreasing Admission for Maths– Fairytale or Reality?
Authors: L.A du Plessis
Abstract:South Africa is facing a crisis with not being able to produce enough graduates in the scarce skills areas to sustain economic growth. The crisis is fuelled by a school system that does not produce enough potential students with Mathematics, Accounting and Science. Since the introduction of the new school curriculum in 2008, there is no longer an option to take pure maths on a standard grade level. Instead, only two mathematical subjects are offered: pure maths (which is on par with higher grade maths) and mathematical literacy. It is compulsory to take one or the other. As a result, lees student finishes Grade 12 with pure mathematics every year. This national problem needs urgent attention if South Africa is to make any headway in critical skills development as mathematics is a gateway to scarce skills professions. Higher education institutions initiated several initiatives in an attempt to address the above, including preparatory courses, bridging programmes and extended curricula with foundation provisions. In view of the above, and government policy directives to broaden access in the scarce skills areas to increase student throughput, foundation provision was introduced for Commerce and Information Technology programmes at the Vaal Triangle Campus (VTC) of North-West University (NWU) in 2010. Students enrolling for extended programmes do not comply with the minimum prerequisites for the normal programmes. The question then arises as to whether these programmes have the intended impact? This paper reports the results of a two year longitudinal study, tracking the first year academic achievement of the two cohorts of enrolments since 2010. The results provide valuable insight into the structuring of an extended programme and its potential impact. Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1223