Breaking New Ground With Sustainable Agriculture PhD

Stockfarm|June 2020

Breaking New Ground With Sustainable Agriculture PhD
In 2014 Stellenbosch University (SU) initiated a new postgraduate programme in sustainable agriculture. Tawanda Marandure was among the programme’s first intake of MSc students and became its first graduate. He is again leading the way as the first SU student to receive a PhD as part of the programme.
Engela Duvenage, Faculty of AgriSciences, Stellenbosch University

Dr Marandure is also currently putting his studies into practice as part of an international research group that is investigating the trade-offs between novel rangeland management with livestock production and livelihood outcomes in the Eastern Cape.

To this end, he has been based in Matatiele since the beginning of the year, where he is a research assistant to a research and development programme run by United Kingdom-based Coventry University. He is currently busy assessing so-called human-environmental tradeoffs through low-tech intensification of livestock management in communal grazing systems in and around Matatiele. The assessment studies include the use of corralling, intensified planted pastures and the eradication of invasive woody plants.

“I am investigating whether improved grazing management is benefiting the availability of water, and consequently improving vegetation, animal production and livelihoods,” he explains.

His research interests lie in ways to sustainably intensify livestock production, and how to assist smallholder livestock farmers to be more resilient and adaptive to the challenges they face in a livestock production environment.

Taking a holistic approach

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June 2020