African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6691

Full Length Research Paper

Indigenous soil knowledge relevant to crop production of smallholder farmers at Rambuda irrigation scheme, Vhembe District South Africa

L. O. Nethononda1, 2* and J. J. O. Odhiambo1
1University of Venda for Science and Technology, Department of Soil Science, Private Bag X5050, Thohoyandou, 0950, South Africa. 2Madzivhandila College of Agriculture, Private Bag X5024, Thohoyandou 0950, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 31 January 2011
  •  Published: 04 June 2011


Rambuda Irrigation Scheme is found in the Mutale Local Municipality in Vhembe District of the Limpopo Province. There is no information on soils or basis for crop choices. Farmers have been growing crops on a trial and error basis and consequently no increase in yields. Situation analysis was conducted followed by field surveys that included person-to-person interview and participatory soil mapping. Verification of participatory soil map was achieved through soil profile description and classification. In general, famers knew the different types of soil found in the irrigation scheme according to local soil classification system. Farmers identified and described four soil types namely, Tshilogo, Dzwabo, Sengetavha and Tshitavhausing local nomenclature. They identified soil compaction, water logging, crusting and quick drying as limiting factors to crop production. Indigenous soil classification system is based on surface soil physical properties related to the use of the soils. Indigenous soil classification system classifies soil according to their properties and is consistent with other systems used elsewhere around the world. The results showed that indigenous soil knowledge and participatory mapping provide reliable information and can be used together with modern soil classification system to develop intermediate soil classification system for South Africa.


Key words: Indigenous knowledge, soil classification, physical properties.