Smallholder farmers’ attitude towards organic farming and factors influencing their attitude: the case of Kwazulu-Natal province, South Africa
This study assessed the South African farmer’s attitude towards organic farming. A pre-tested structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 270 sampled smallholder farmers. The attitude was measured against statements that specifically focused on aspects of organic farming and its environmental and cost-benefit aspects. The five-point Likert scale was the instrument used to measure farmers’ perceptions. To check the survey questionnaire reliability, a Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was calculated and found to be equal to 0.8. To explore the relationship between the variables correlation coefficient (r2) was computed using STATA statistical software. The Tobit Regression test showed that farmers' age (negatively), farming experience (positively) and distance from the nearest town (positively influenced smallholders’ attitudes toward organic farming. The nested regression result indicated that the age and product type of the respondents had a negative and statistically significant (P<0.05) effect on farmers' attitudes towards the environmental benefits of organic farming. Farming experience and distance from the nearest town had a positive and significant (P<0.01) effect on smallholders’ attitudes toward environmental and cost-benefit aspects of organic agriculture. In conclusion, the age of farmers had negative and significant (P<0.05) effects on organic farming while the experience of farmers had a positive influence on their attitude toward the farmers. Environmental and cost-benefit aspects were negatively correlated with age while on the other hand the farmers' experience was found to be positively correlated with these factors.
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