AGRICULTURE AND LAND REFORM
Odds stacked against smallholder farmers to reach goals set by government
Various plans envisage a greater number of farmers, but the trend under pressure of neoliberal policies is the opposite
Plans outlined in key government documents to simultaneously establish a new cohort of smallholder farmers, drastically increase farming jobs and improve their quality, and also guarantee food security for all South Africans, raise serious questions about implementation and potentially contradictory outcomes. This was the conclusion reached by Dr Scott Drimie, Dr Stephen Greenberg and I in a series of papers commissioned by the Centre of Excellence in Food Security, hosted by the University of the Western Cape. Drimie’s paper drew on key policy documents, including the National Development Plan (NDP); new growth path; the medium-term strategic framework; the agriculture, forestry and fisheries department’s agricultural policy action plan; and the national policy on food and nutrition security. These policies outline the government’s goals of speeding up land reform by establishing many more smallholder farmers; creating more rural jobs; and ensuring food security, primarily by allow...