A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to small-scale communal farmers in five communal villages
which fall under Mhinga Traditional Authority (TA) in the Vhembe District of Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Contrary to what has been documented in the literature, our study finds no evidence that farmers in rural
communities keep livestock for non-market benefits such as cultural reasons or social status. Instead our study
shows that farmers in rural areas keep livestock in order to enhance their income and to sustain their livelihoods.
Furthermore, the study points out that livestock predation and lack of efficient marketing channels are some of
the major challenges that continue to undermine the role that livestock play in enhancing the incomes of the
small-scale cattle farmers. The study proposes policies that can address the opportunities and challenges facing
the farmers in the study area. Establishment of efficient marketing channels and game-proof fences around the
park are some of the proposed strategies the government can implement as part of the economic developmental
goals in the study area. Thus the significance of this study is to highlight the role that livestock plays in
enhancing the livelihoods of small-scale farmers in rural areas and how research of this nature can inform
policies that are aimed at addressing the economic development challenges of the rural poor.