National Extension Policy
Register  |  Login  |  Contact  |  Home
 News  About  Forestry  Agriculture  Fisheries  Downloads  Links

The structure of South African Agriculture

South African Agriculture is divided into three spheres:
  • 2 million households who augment nutrition through gardening and livestock production
  • An estimated 200,000 small holder farmers on 14 million ha of land
  • 40,000 commercial farmers on 82 million ha.
Commercial agriculture accounts for almost all produce sold through formal markets. Commercial agriculture relies more and more on privisatised extension services. Smallholder farmers who are the beneficiaries of land reform and who operate in the former homeland areas struggle to access markets and to obtain adequate technical, infrastructural and financial support. The majority of subsistence and survivalist households  remain outside the reach of State and non state support networks.

The agricultural sector has been through an extended period of deregulation and restructuring. Between 1965 and 2009 the contribution of agriculture to GDP has declined from 9% to 3% (DAFF, 2012).This has been mirrored by declining levels of State support for the agricultural sector. The value of policy transfers to South African agricultural producers, as measured by the OECD Producer Support Estimate (PSE), equalled 5% of gross farm receipts on average in 2000–03 compared to 31% in the European Union (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2006). By 2001 state spending on agriculture had declined by 45% from 1998 (Vink & Kirsten, 2003). 

Available State resources have largely been redirected towards smallholder and subsistence producers but as DAFF points out the numbers of producers dwarf available extension capacity. Appropriate post settlement and development support has been a major challenge for the land reform programme leading to widespread project failure and questions about the sustainability of the land reform programme

The draft  Integrated Growth and Development Plan for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF, 2012) notes that “since 1994, State support has largely shifted away from the large-scale commercial farming subsector, in favour of smallholders and subsistence producers” but the large numbers of these producers has dwarfed the limited capacity of the extension services which has meant that “the actual support rendered to smallholders and subsistence producers has been patchy and generally inadequate,” (DAFF, 2012: 19)

The combination of rising food prices and mounting unemployment has led to re-evaluation of the role of the agricultural sector and its role in ensuring national and household-level food security and promoting social and economic growth and development through job creation.

The draft National Development Plan (NPC, 2011) currently under consultation argues that “agriculture has the potential to create 1 million new jobs by 2030”. The NPC proposes that this will happen through:
  • the expansion of irrigated agriculture 
  • the conversion of some “under-used land in communal areas and land reform projects into commercial production”
  • investment in sectors and regions with the highest potential for growth and employment
  • strategies which give new entrants to agriculture access to product value chains and support from better resourced players.
A similar view of the potential of the agricultural sector in creating employment also features in the New Growth Path (NGP). In a recent address to AgriSA Minister Patel stated: 
“We believe that there are opportunities to bring up to 300 000 additional households into viable small holder schemes by 2020, create up 145 000 additional agro-processing jobs over the next decade and upgrade employment on commercial farms” (EDD, 2011).
However despite the targets set out in the National Development Plan: Vision 2030 and the New Growth Path both documents are virtually silent on extension and advisory services.

If these visions and plans are to become realities fresh thinking will be required about how to best support smallholder agriculture. This will be the focus of the new national policy on extension.

Click the image for a view of: Who should the priority focus of agricultural extension?
Who should the priority focus of agricultural extension?
Posted: 6/26/2012 (7:47:15 AM)


Top of the page   Bookmark and Share     Shanghai International Fair Wardrobe Fittings Furniture Chemical Upholstery Furniture Components International Furniture Fair home Furniture Show Upholstery Machinery Copyright © 2012 Phuhlisani Solutions. All rights reserved International Furniture Expo Furniture Expo in China exhibition in china 2013 Furniture Show Las Vegas Furniture Expo Highpoint Furniture China International Fair
Windows 7 Professional Product Key