‘Government and small-scale agriculture: understanding the successes and failures in respect of learning, planning and implementation’

This research project is funded by the European Union through the auspices of the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development under ‘PSPPD-II’.  The purpose of the initiative is to examine in detail the manner in which government and small-scale farmers interact. Broadly speaking, the development literature recognises the distinction between the ‘blueprint approach’ and the ‘process approach’, where the former involves centralised planning and often frustrated attempts to implement, while the latter is a more people-centred, bottom-up approach. The point is not necessarily that one approach is always better than the other, but that in certain contexts or for certain tasks there may be good reason to lean in favour of one over the other. The premise of this study is that current approaches to promoting the small-scale farming sector in South Africa appear to be tilted too far towards the blueprint end of the spectrum. The issue is not just government policy, but the ‘readiness’ of small-scale farmers themselves to seek their development on different terms. The study seeks to provide evidence in hopes of facilitating a more balanced approach. » read more

'Promoting Community and Regional Food Systems in the Eastern Cape, South Africa’

The goals of the research initiative are to

1) better understand the current ‘market failure’ characterising the ex-Bantustans of the Eastern Cape, South Africa, whereby, despite significant production capacity, food consumption depends relatively little on food production within these areas; and

2) determine to what extent innovations pursued in the US and elsewhere can address this market failure. » read more

 Joint research with the Nkonkobe Farmers’ Association and the eDikeni WUA

Since mid-2015 ARDRI has undertaken a number of joint research initiatives with the Nkonkobe Farmers’ Association and the eDikeni Water Users Association. The Nkonkobe Farmers’ Association is an umbrella farmers’ association representing the interests of black farmers throughout Nkonkobe Local Municipality. The aim of these research initiatives is to provide a better factual understanding of challenges and opportunities facing farmers in the area. Research initiatives that have been concluded include: a survey of market-oriented producers in order to determine existing production levels, market strategies, and future production/marketing potential ; a survey of tractor owners to establish the number and status of tractors owned by local farmers in the area; and an ‘action research’ project to determine the feasibility of using labour-intensive methods to clean local dams. » read more

Job creation in agriculture, forestry and fisheries in South Africa

This research project is led by the DST/NRF Chair in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, Professor Ben Cousins, who is with the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) of the University of the Western Cape.  The research project will collect and analyse secondary and primary data on the potential for expanding employment in a variety of sub-sectors, commodities and locations. The research will include analysis of existing data sets, gathered from both government and commodity organisations, plus primary field research on a sample of producers, to collect relevant quantitative and qualitative data. Detailed data will provide the basis for an informed discussion of the prospects for employment creation in the rural economy in general and its potential impacts on poverty and inequality. ARDRI is pleased to have the opportunity to play a role in this initiative. In particular, ARDRI will contribute to the analysis of the scope for employment creation on smallholder irrigation schemes, and in the commercial citrus subsector in the Eastern Cape.