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An empirical analysis of factors affecting the productivity of livestock in southern Botswana


  • Mahabile, M.
  • Lyne, Michael C.
  • Panin, A.


This study attempts to identify factors responsible for differences in the productivity of cattle managed by private and communal livestock farmers in the southern region of Botswana during 1999/2000. Sample survey data are used to estimate the parameters of a block recursive regression model. Some of the equations postulated in the model are estimated with two-stage least squares (2SLS) to account for likely correlation between endogenous explanatory variables and the error term. The results show that (a) respondents with secure land tenure (private farms) and larger herds use more agricultural credit than do those who rely on open access communal grazing to raise cattle; (b) secure tenure and higher levels of liquidity from long-term credit and off-farm wage remittances promote investment in fixed improvements to land; (c) liquidity from short-term credit and wage remittances supports expenditure on operating inputs; and (d) herd productivity increases with greater investment in operating inputs and fixed improvements, and is therefore positively (but indirectly) influenced by secure land tenure. It can be inferred that government should (a) uphold private property rights to land where they already exist; (b) privatise open access grazing to individual owner-operators where this is politically, socially and economically feasible; and (c) where privatisation to individuals is not feasible, government should encourage users to convert the grazing into common property by subsidising the transaction costs of defining user groups and the boundaries of their resources, and of negotiating and enforcing rules limiting individual use of common property. This first-step in a gradual shift towards private property might be followed by a conversion of user-groups into non-user groups organised along the lines of investor-owned firms where members exchange use rights for benefits rights.

Suggested Citation

  • Mahabile, M. & Lyne, Michael C. & Panin, A., 2005. "An empirical analysis of factors affecting the productivity of livestock in southern Botswana," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 44(1), March.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:agreko:31718

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Louise Fenwick & Mike Lyne, 1999. "The relative importance of liquidity and other constraints inhibiting the growth of small-scale farming in KwaZulu-Natal," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 141-155.
    2. Scoones, Ian, 1992. "The economic value of livestock in the communal areas of southern Zimbabwe," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 339-359.
    3. Joseph Hayes & Michael Roth & Lydia Zepeda, 1997. "Tenure Security, Investment and Productivity in Gambian Agriculture: A Generalized Probit Analysis," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 79(2), pages 369-382.
    4. Anim, Francis D. K. & Lyne, Mike C., 1994. "Econometric analysis of private access to communal grazing lands in South Africa: A case study of Ciskei," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 461-471.
    5. H. Scott Gordon, 1954. "The Economic Theory of a Common-Property Resource: The Fishery," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62, pages 124-124.
    6. Abel, Nick, 1997. "Mis-measurement of the productivity and sustainability of African communal rangelands: a case study and some principles from Botswana," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 113-133, November.
    7. M.C. Lyne & W.L. Nieuwoudt, 1990. "The Real Tragedy of the Commons: Livestock Production in Kwazulu," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 58(1), pages 51-56, March.
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    1. repec:eee:agisys:v:156:y:2017:i:c:p:13-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Temoso, Omphile & Villano, Renato & Hadley, David, 2016. "Evaluating the productivity gap between commercial and traditional beef production systems in Botswana," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 30-39.

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