In December 2018 I set myself a goal to travel to a few places across the Eastern Cape so I could write articles about the province’s tourism prospects. The travel, however, led me to something I had been seeing but hadn’t really taken time to think about — the expansion of human settlement. This might sound counterintuitive, as most macroeconomic trends generally suggest South Africans are urbanising. It seems the remittances from the urban areas and population growth are the main drivers of the expansion of human settlement in rural areas. While there is no credible data to measure the extent of this expansion, anecdotally it is clear that there is growing competition between agriculture and human settlement, particularly in areas that are close to roads. Given that the consensus among policymakers is that agriculture is one of the key sectors that could unlock rural economic growth and job creation, the competing needs from settlement might present a challenge from an agricultura...

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