Livelihood benefits from the local level commercialization of savanna resources: a case study of the new and expanding trade in marula (Sclerocarya birrea) beer in Bushbuckridge, South Africa

Shackleton, S.E. (2004) Livelihood benefits from the local level commercialization of savanna resources: a case study of the new and expanding trade in marula (Sclerocarya birrea) beer in Bushbuckridge, South Africa. South African Journal of Science, 100 (11 & 12). pp. 651-657. ISSN 0038-2353

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Abstract

In the face of economic hardship and poverty, rural people in South Africa and globally are increasingly turning to the natural resource base to generate income. One product that has recently entered into local commercial markets is a traditional alcoholic beverage brewed from the fruits of Sclerocarya birrea (marula), commonly known as marula beer. It was rarely traded in the past due to customary taboos prohibiting its sale. In Bushbuckridge, Limpopo province, rural women have been selling marula beer in the business centres of the district and along the roadside since 1998. A survey of these markets was undertaken in 2002, to discover the commercialization process involved, from raw material harvesting to marketing, and to assess the importance of the trade for household livelihoods and poverty alleviation. Fifty-one traders were interviewed, who indicated that the sale of marula beer provides a vital source of income to several hundred households from amongst the poorest sector of the Bushbuckridge community. Of particular importance were the low barriers of entry to the trade, as the resource is abundant and freely accessible and there are few costs to produce marula beer. Incomes earned were modest, averaging a net R500 per season, and highly seasonal, but came at a critical point in the household calendar, after the festive season and when cash was required for the new school year. Income bridging, livelihood diversification, and the provision of a safety net for the poorest members of society are some of the key benefits of the beer trade.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Rhodes Centenary issue
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sclerocarya birrea, marula beer, South Africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Environmental Science
ID Code:132
Deposited By: Rhodes Library Archive Administrator
Deposited On:16 Oct 2006
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:17
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