Environmental awareness among farmers in the North West Province, South Africa
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The environmental impacts associated with agriculture have been widely researched both internationally and in South Africa, with some attention devoted to farmers’ behaviours and decisions. However, very little research has been done on farmers’ environmental awareness in South Africa, and it was the aim of this study to probe the environmental awareness of farmers in an area of the North West Province of South Africa. A literature review on agriculture and sustainability focused on known environmental impacts relating to agriculture and how farming types and methods contribute to these environmental impacts. A study area was selected in the central part of the North West province where there was access to a diverse farming community with relevant farming types and farming methods. A questionnaire was developed with sections addressing farmers’ environmental awareness in relation to sustainable development, agriculture and sustainable development, agricultural impacts, environmental legislation and decision making. It can be expected that farmers may have some level of environmental awareness but will not have in-depth awareness of environmental impacts associated with agriculture. The results indicated that in the sustainable development model the farmers displayed more awareness of financial sustainability than environmental or social sustainability. Farmers showed minor awareness of all the related environmental impacts associated with agriculture. Farmers are aware that there is environmental legislation but could not demonstrate that they are aware of the requirements of the specific environmental acts and regulations.