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A typology of emerging farmers in three rural provinces of South Africa: what are the implications for the land redistribution policy?

Siphe Zantsi (Department of Agricultural Economics, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa) (Agroscope Standort Tanikon, Ettenhausen, Switzerland)
Louw Petrus Pienaar (Western Cape Department of Agriculture, Elsenburg, South Africa)
Jan C. Greyling (Department of Agricultural Economics, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 1 March 2021

Issue publication date: 4 May 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

Understanding diversity amongst potential beneficiaries of land redistribution is of critical importance for both design and planning of successful land reform interventions. This study seeks to add to the existing literature on farming types, with specific emphasis on understanding diversity within a sub-group of commercially oriented or emerging smallholders.

Design/methodology/approach

Using a multivariate statistical analysis – principal component and cluster analyses applied to a sample of 442 commercially-oriented smallholders – five distinct clusters of emerging farmers are identified, using variables related to farmers' characteristics, income and expenditure and farm production indicators and willingness to participate in land redistribution. The five clusters are discussed in light of a predefined selection criteria that is based on the current policies and scholarly thinking.

Findings

The results suggest that there are distinct differences in farming types, and each identified cluster of farmers requires tailored support for the effective implementation of land reform. The identified homogenous sub-groups of smallholders, allows us to understand which farmers could be a better target for a successful land redistribution policy.

Originality/value

Most of the existing typology studies in South Africa tend to focus on general smallholders and in the Eastern Cape province; this study extends the literature by focussing on specific prime beneficiaries of land reform in three provinces. This study uses a more detailed dataset than the Statistics general and agricultural household surveys.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions in previous drafts of the paper. The authors are also grateful to a team of enumerators who assisted in smallholder data collection. Most importantly, the authors extend their gratitude to the farmers who volunteered to participate in the study.Funding: This study was funded by the following bodies: the National Research Foundation (South Africa) under the DAAD doctoral scholarship, the Impacts of Land Use Patterns in South Africa (ILUPSA) project number 107800 and the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Citation

Zantsi, S., Pienaar, L.P. and Greyling, J.C. (2021), "A typology of emerging farmers in three rural provinces of South Africa: what are the implications for the land redistribution policy?", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 48 No. 5, pp. 724-747. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSE-10-2020-0728

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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