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South African Journal of Agricultural Extension

On-line version ISSN 2413-3221
Print version ISSN 0301-603X


VAN NIEKERK, J. A; MAHLOBOGOANE, M  and  TIRIVANHU, P.. The transfer of intergenerational family knowledge for sustainable commercial farming in Mpumalanga province of South Africa: Lessons for extension. S Afr. Jnl. Agric. Ext. [online]. 2015, vol.43, n.1, pp.66-77. ISSN 2413-3221.

This study focuses on intergenerational knowledge transfer in commercial family farms as a tool for sustainable agriculture. The rationale is two pronged; the need for smallholder farmers to learn from the commercial enterprises; and extension professional to assess how these experiences can be integrated into practice. The key research questions addressed are; what key intergenerational knowledge sustains commercial farming? What are the modes of knowledge transfer? What are key learning points for smallholder farmer extension practice? A case study approach was applied and data was collected using a semi structured questionnaire and research on family histories. Key knowledge themes that were identified as critical for intergenerational transfer include; maintaining a business mindset; investment and diversification decisions; planning and implementing operational plans; valuing human resources; genetic preservation; adapting to changing climatic conditions and risk taking. The key modes of knowledge transfer were continuous engagement, discussions and networking. The study concludes that smallholder farmers need to incorporate these lessons in commercialising their enterprises.

Keywords : Intergenerational knowledge; sustainable agriculture; family farms; Mpumalanga.

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