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Investigation of smallholder food value chains: Evidence from Eastern Cape and Kwazulu-Natal Provinces
Expanded Title:South African agriculture is characterised by a dual economy, with large-scale commercial farmers dominating the current food value chains and emerging, smallholder farmers being faced by a range of constraints, which prevent them from participating effectively in these same value chains. Water plays a key role in agriculture, not only for irrigated activities but also for rain-fed cropping and livestock production. The purpose of the research project was to develop a better understanding of the environment in which emerging farmers operate, and their goals and aspirations for entering food value chains, as well as to ascertain the value chains in which they either currently participate, or could potentially participate. The research project aimed to analyse a number of key irrigated and rain-fed food value chains, with specific attention to water use, in order to identify mechanisms allowing subsistence and emerging farmers to participate in the mainstream economy, and to understand the current lack of participation. In addition, the study was expected to generate knowledge on the role of water in rural communities, and how it could be better (more efficiently) managed and shared. Generally value chains were very short and there was almost no value adding or processing encountered. Overall, very little use was made of formal markets such as fresh produce markets. These markets were not accessible and the farmers could not compete with large-scale producers. Sometimes farmers’ products were not of a standard that allowed them to supply higher paying markets, but even hawkers raised the issue of poor grading of produce during interviews. The study clearly demonstrated a range of opportunities and constraints that small-scale farmers face when accessing various markets. As a result of a general shortage of resources for purchasing inputs coupled with a lack of technical skills and business acumen, many farmers are not able to participate in mainstream markets that have stringent standards (e.g. hygiene, traceability of produce, etc.). The lack of packing facilities, limited scale of production and the lack of access to transport are some factors that constrain the participation of small-scale farmers in mainstream value chains. Despite this, there are some value chains that small-scale farmers have effectively claimed, such as “green mealie” production. These are value chains where farmers have the skills necessary to produce a good quality product and where systems have developed that have allowed them to market their produce effectively. Perhaps it is important for small-scale farmers to find opportunities that do not require that they compete directly with large-scale commercial farmers.
Date Published:01/01/2015
Document Type:Research Report
Document Subjects:Agricultural Water - Small holder irrigation
Document Keywords:Rural, Society
Document Format:Report
Document File Type:pdf
Research Report Type:Standard
WRC Report No:1879/1/14
ISBN No:978-1-4312-0625-4
Authors:Muchara B; Letty B; McCosh J; Arowolo S; Adeyemo AJ; Wale E; Ortmann GF; Obi A; Nxele Z; Masika PJ; Mudhara M; Parry A; Modi AT
Project No:K5/1879
Document Size:7 360 KB
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