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DEFINING SMALL-SCALE FARMERS IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN CONTEXT

Authors
Disciplines
  • Agricultural Science

Abstract

South African agriculture is comprised of mainly two categories of farmers -- the subsistence farmers in the former homeland areas and the large-scale commercial (mainly white) farmers. This is in contrast with the situation in many other countries in the world where one would find a whole range of farm sizes, ranging from the very small or subsistence farmer to the very large farmer/agribusiness. The paper highlights the situation of small-scale farmers in an international context and compares it with the South African situation that is totally different. Within this context, this paper has as basic premise that in South Africa the concept of "small-scale farmer" is usually value-laden, creates wrong impressions and is often viewed in a negative light. "Small-scale" is often equated with a backward, nonproductive, non-commercial, subsistence agriculture that we find in parts of the former homeland areas. This paper endeavours to correct the negative perceptions towards smallscale farms by redefining the small-scale farmer and laying to rest the fallacy that small relates to land size only.

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