The rural economy should not be forgotten in SA’s post-Covid-19 recovery plans. This is still an important segment of society and the economy, though 68% of the population now lives in urban areas. Apart from its reliance on remittances and social transfer payments, the one outstanding characteristic of the rural economy is its dependence on a few key industries, all of which are typically resource-based, such as agriculture, mining, fishing, tourism and forestry.

With rising unemployment and low economic activity, policymakers are searching for areas of growth and job creation. For many rural areas, agriculture and tourism are the only industries that still have the potential to generate livelihoods and employment. The pandemic might severely delay gains from tourism, but agriculture could play an important role in the near term. However, this will require that we confront various infrastructure and governance constraints that have hindered development and growth of agricul...

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