Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Agricultural and Resource Economics

Committee Chair

Tim T. Phipps.


Land degradation continues to be a threat to the agricultural sector of South Africa. Land degradation induced by agricultural production activities is considered to be among the major factors responsible for a decline in land productivity. Conservation efforts through government intervention and voluntary efforts have produced minimal success compared to the desired targets. The purpose of this study is to understand the factors that influence the adoption decisions of resource conserving technologies in the context of commercial farmers in South Africa.;Adoption of conservation-oriented agricultural technologies in South Africa is influenced by a wide range of economic and social factors, and land characteristics. It is important to understand the role of these factors to ensure the development of appropriate technologies and the design of successful conservation programs. This study examines the impact of such factors on the adoption of resource conserving technologies in commercial farms of South Africa.;Models to evaluate the probability of adoption are specified for given Best Management Practice technologies and are estimated using a logit maximum likelihood procedure using a nine-province survey data set. The findings suggest that while government financial assistance to farmers, the level of farmer education, farmers' income, and farm size have a significant positive effect on the marginal probability of technology adoption. On the other hand tenure insecurity (measured by land rent) and age of farmer have significant negative effects on the adoption. Availability of credit to farmers, off-farm employment opportunities, and perception of the resource degradation problem has a positive influence on the probability of adoption; however, their magnitude was not found to be statistically significant. An important conclusion to be drawn from this study is that differences in farmers' socio-economic conditions, institutional settings, and their complementarities with policy programs need to be factored into land conservation-oriented intervention programs.