IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Risk perceptions and management strategies by smallholder farmers in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa


  • Kisaka-Lwayo, Maggie
  • Obi, Ajuruchukwu


Risk is a central issue in rural areas that affects many different aspects of people’s livelihoods in the developing world. Unless well managed, risks in agriculture can slow development and hinder poverty reduction. Farmers’ perceptions of and responses to risk are therefore important in understanding their risk behaviour. This paper examines risk perceptions and management strategies using field data collected from 200 smallholder rural farmers. The relationships between various socioeconomic characteristics and perceived sources of risk were also examined. In general, price, production and financial risks were perceived as the most important sources of risk. Using Principal Components Analysis, seven principal components (PCs) that explained 66.13% of the variation were extracted. Socio economic factors identified to have a significant relationship with the various sources of risk are age, gender, education, location, information access and risk-taking ability. The most important traditional risk management strategies used by the surveyed farmers were identified as crop diversification, precautionary savings and participating in social networks. The result of this study provides useful insights for policy makers, advisers, developers and sellers of risk management instruments.

Suggested Citation

  • Kisaka-Lwayo, Maggie & Obi, Ajuruchukwu, 2012. "Risk perceptions and management strategies by smallholder farmers in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa," International Journal of Agricultural Management, Institute of Agricultural Management, vol. 1(3), pages 1-12.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:ijameu:149748
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.149748

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. AfDB AfDB, . "African Development Report 2002," African Development Report, African Development Bank, number 19 edited by Adeleke Oluwole Salami, March.
    2. Stefan Dercon, 0. "Fate and Fear: Risk and Its Consequences in Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 17(suppl_2), pages -127.
    3. Flavio Cunha & James Heckman & Salvador Navarro, 2005. "Separating uncertainty from heterogeneity in life cycle earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 191-261, April.
    4. MacNicol, R. & Ortmann, Gerald F. & Ferrer, Stuart R.D., 2007. "Perceptions of key business and financial risk by large-scale sugarcane farmers in KwaZulu-Natal in a dynamic socio-political environment," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 46(3), pages 1-20, September.
    5. ,, 2007. "African Development Report 2007," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199238866, April.
    6. Mahlanza, B. & Mendes, E. & Vink, Nick, 2003. "Comparative advantage of organic wheat production in the Western Cape," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 42(2), pages 1-19, June.
    7. Llewelyn, Richard V. & Williams, Jeffery R., 1996. "Nonparametric analysis of technical, pure technical, and scale efficiencies for food crop production in East Java, Indonesia," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 15(2), pages 113-126, November.
    8. Rahman, Sanzidur, 2009. "Whether crop diversification is a desired strategy for agricultural growth in Bangladesh?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 340-349, August.
    9. Morduch, Jonathan, 1999. "Between the State and the Market: Can Informal Insurance Patch the Safety Net?," The World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 14(2), pages 187-207, August.
    10. Adesina, Akinwumi A. & Brorsen, B. Wade, 1987. "A risk responsive acreage response function for millet in Niger," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 1(3), pages 229-239, October.
    11. Verbeek, Marno, 2007. "A Guide to Modern Econometrics," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 8(4), pages 125-132.
    12. Pierre Matungul & Michael Lyne & Gerald Ortmann, 2001. "Transaction costs and crop marketing in the communal areas of Impendle and Swayimana, KwaZulu-Natal," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 347-363.
    13. Feigenbaum, James, 2011. "Precautionary saving or denied dissaving," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 1559-1572, July.
    14. Stockil, R.C. & Ortmann, Gerald F., 1997. "Perceptions Of Risk Among Commercial Farmers In Kwazulu-Natal In A Changing Economic Environment," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 36(2), pages 1-21, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. K M Mehedi Adnan & Liu Ying & Swati Anindita Sarker & Muhammad Hafeez & Amar Razzaq & Muhammad Haseeb Raza, 2018. "Adoption of Contract Farming and Precautionary Savings to Manage the Catastrophic Risk of Maize Farming: Evidence from Bangladesh," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(1), pages 1-19, December.
    2. Yohana James Mgale & Yan Yunxian, 2020. "Marketing efficiency and determinants of marketing channel choice by rice farmers in rural Tanzania: Evidence from Mbeya region, Tanzania," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 64(4), pages 1239-1259, October.
    3. Huet, E.K. & Adam, M. & Giller, K.E. & Descheemaeker, K., 2020. "Diversity in perception and management of farming risks in southern Mali," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 184(C).
    4. Kabir, Md. Jahangir & Cramb, Rob & Alauddin, Mohammad & Gaydon, Donald S., 2019. "Farmers’ perceptions and management of risk in rice-based farming systems of south-west coastal Bangladesh," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 177-188.
    5. Vitalii Nitsenko & Abbas Mardani & Justas Streimikis & Mykola Ishchenko & Marina Chaikovsky & Svitlana Stoyanovakoval & Ruzanna Arutiunian, 2019. "Automatic Information System of Risk Assessment for Agricultural Enterprises of Ukraine," Montenegrin Journal of Economics, Economic Laboratory for Transition Research (ELIT), vol. 15(2), pages 139-152.
    6. Thi Tam Duong & Tom Brewer & Jo Luck & Kerstin Zander, 2019. "A Global Review of Farmers’ Perceptions of Agricultural Risks and Risk Management Strategies," Agriculture, MDPI, vol. 9(1), pages 1-16, January.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Pierre Dubois & Bruno Jullien & Thierry Magnac, 2008. "Formal and Informal Risk Sharing in LDCs: Theory and Empirical Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(4), pages 679-725, July.
    2. Singbo, Alphonse G. & Emvalomatis, Grigorios & Alfons, Oude Lansink, 2013. "Assessing the impact of crop specialization on farms’ performance in vegetables farming in Benin: a non-neutral stochastic frontier approach," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 149172, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Siyan Zeng & Fengwu Zhu & Fu Chen & Man Yu & Shaoliang Zhang & Yongjun Yang, 2018. "Assessing the Impacts of Land Consolidation on Agricultural Technical Efficiency of Producers: A Survey from Jiangsu Province, China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 10(7), pages 1-17, July.
    4. Johann F. Kirsten, 2012. "The Political Economy of Food Price Policy in South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2012-102, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. repec:gam:jagris:v:6:y:2016:i:2:p:14:d:67401 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Larcher, Manuela & Schönhart, Martin & Schmid, Erwin, 2016. "Risikobewertung und Risikomanagement landwirtschaftlicher BetriebsleiterInnen in Österreich – deskriptive Befragungsergebnisse 2015," Discussion Papers DP-59-2016, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Department of Economics and Social Sciences, Institute for Sustainable Economic Development.
    7. Rahman, Sanzidur & Kazal, Mohammad Mizanul Haque, 2015. "Whether crop diversification is energy efficient: An empirical analysis from Bangladesh," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 745-754.
    8. Asif Reza Anik & Sanzidur Rahman & Jaba Rani Sarker, 2017. "Agricultural Productivity Growth and the Role of Capital in South Asia (1980–2013)," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 9(3), pages 1-24, March.
    9. Kirsten, Johann F., 2012. "The Political Economy of Food Price Policy in South Africa," Working Papers 206514, University of Pretoria, Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development.
    10. Manuela Larcher & Martin Schönhart & Erwin Schmid, 2016. "Risikobewertung und Risikomanagement landwirtschaftlicher BetriebsleiterInnen in Österreich – deskriptive Befragungsergebnisse 2015," Working Papers 592016, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Department of Economics and Social Sciences, Institute for Sustainable Economic Development.
    11. repec:zbw:inwedp:592016 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Hayatullah Ahmadzai, 2017. "Crop Diversification and Technical Efficiency in Afghanistan: Stochastic Frontier Analysis," Discussion Papers 2017-04, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    13. Peter Tóth & Andrea Tkáčová & Katarína Muľová, . "Redistributive Policies of EU Member Countries in the Context of Welfare Regimes," Prague Economic Papers, Prague University of Economics and Business, vol. 0.
    14. Rahman, Sanzidur & Barmon, Basanta K., 2012. "Energy productivity and efficiency of the ‘gher’ (prawn-fish-rice) farming system in Bangladesh," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 293-300.
    15. Balakrishna Menon, James Mutero and Simon Macharia & James Mutero & Simon Macharia, 2008. "Decentralization and Local Governments in Kenya," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0832, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    16. Sanzidur Rahman & Chidiebere Daniel Chima, 2016. "Determinants of Food Crop Diversity and Profitability in Southeastern Nigeria: A Multivariate Tobit Approach," Agriculture, MDPI, vol. 6(2), pages 1-14, April.
    17. Sanzidur Rahman, 2010. "Women’s Labour Contribution to Productivity and Efficiency in Agriculture: Empirical Evidence From Bangladesh," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(2), pages 318-342, June.
    18. Faltermeier, Liane & Abdulai, Awudu, 2008. "The Adoption of Water Conservation and Intensification Technologies and Farm Income: A Propensity Score Analysis for Rice Farmers in Northern Ghana," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6354, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    19. Harold Alderman & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey, 2006. "Long term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 450-474, July.
    20. Wright, Philip, 2005. "Liberalisation and the security of gas supply in the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(17), pages 2272-2290, November.
    21. Marcos Vera-Hernández & Aida Galiano Martínez, 2008. "Health shocks, household consumption, and child nutrition," Working Papers. Serie EC 2008-14, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    22. Kathleen Beegle & Rajeev Dehejia & Roberta Gatti, 2003. "Child Labor, Crop Shocks, and Credit Constraints," NBER Working Papers 10088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item


    Risk and Uncertainty;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:ijameu:149748. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: AgEcon Search (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.