5.1 Brief overviewThis chapter presents the results that were obtained in the research study in order to achieve the objectives. The main objective of the study was to investigate the potential of increasing maize yields for subsistence farmers through integrating minimum tillage and cattle manure as a soil amendment by using the DSSAT-CERES Maize model to simulate maize crop responses to minimum-tillage and cattle manure; hence the yield improvement to determine the applicability of using minimum tillage and cattle manure in maize cultivation. The results presented in this study include the findings from fieldwork, the results of the evaluation of the DSSAT CERES-Maize model’s ability to predict maize yield, the results of the yields projections up to the the year 2030 under the different cultivation methods using the DSSAT CERES-Maize model, the soil nitrogen variation between the different methods and the results of the implementation feasibility analysis.
5.2 Socio-economic status of farmers in the study areaAge and gender distributionAmong the 60 farmers that were interviewed female farmers accounted for 90% while 10% were males. The inequality of the gender distribution towards females may be due to a number of reasons. Though the reasons were never asked during the survey but it is probable that some male heads of households were away in pursuit of wage employment outside of Siphofaneni or it might be that the interviews were conducted during the day when males are usually out of the homestead and only the females are left to perform daily chores.
Another reason could probably be some may have passed on as it is a well known fact that males have a shorter life expectancy compared to females. The majority (57 %) of the farmers were aged between 50-59 years and above while very few farmers (7%) were between the ages 30-39 years old (Table 7).