A Small-Scale Farming Intervention Plan for Inclusive Economic Development in Rural South Africa

Mike Muzekenyi, Farai Nyika, Muhammad Hoque


Small-scale commercial farming firms play a critical role in achieving the objectives of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the rural economies of Sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa has a sizeable number of households engaged in small-scale agriculture to supply rural market demand. Small scale commercial agriculture has become a key source of revenue, employment, and food security for communities in rural areas. As such, the South African government has been assisting small-scale farmers financially via the Micro-Agriculture Finance Institutions of South Africa and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries. This support aims to alleviate poverty, create jobs, and improve food security by promoting small-scale commercial farming, primarily in rural areas. Despite this assistance, there is no clear strategy for achieving significant and evidence-based development. This study outlines a four-step intervention strategy for promoting small-scale commercial farming as a strategy for rural economic development in South Africa. These steps include defining a small-scale farming development strategy, and delineating production, performance, policy, and control measures.

Full Text:



Abegunde, V.O., Sibanda, M. and Obi, A., 2019. The dynamics of climate change adaptation in Sub-Saharan Africa: A review of climate-smart agriculture among small-scale farmers. Climate, 7(11), p.132.

Agutu, N.O., Awange, J.L., Ndehedehe, C., Kirimi, F. and Kuhn, M., 2019. GRACE-derived groundwater changes over Greater Horn of Africa: temporal variability and the potential for irrigated agriculture. Science of The Total Environment, 693, p.133467.

Akintunde, M.A.O. and Oladele, O.I., 2019. Use of information communication technologies among Agricultural Extension Officers in Lesotho. Journal of Agricultural Extension, 23(3), pp. 50-65.

Aniefiok, A. I., 2019. Sustainable agricultural development in the era of rural insecurity. [Online] Available at: https://sccdr.org.ng/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/2019-SCCDR-Proceedings-Vol1.pdf#page=8 [Accessed 31 March 2020].

Apleni, A., Aliber, M., Zhou, L. & Zansti, S., 2019. The impact of the farmer field school approach on small-scale vegetable producers' knowledge and production in Alice, Eastern Cape, South Africa. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension, 47(3), pp. 70-82.

Cishe, E.N., Mpongwana, Z. and Kativhu, S., 2022. Exploring challenges facing Small-Scale Agribusiness and Non-Farm Enterprise Local Action Groups in Nyandeni and Amahlathi Local Municipality of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. African Journal of Development Studies (formerly AFFRIKA Journal of Politics, Economics and Society), 12(3), pp.211-230.

Colas, F., Cordeau, S., Granger, S., Jeuffroy, M.H., Pointurier, O., Queyrel, W., Rodriguez, A., Villerd, J. and Colbach, N., 2020. Co-development of a decision support system for integrated weed management: Contribution from future users. European Journal of Agronomy, 114, p.126010.

Cottrell, S., 2017. Critical Thinking: Effective Analysis, Argument and Reflection. 2 ed. New York: Palgrave.

Coulbaly, B., 2020. Foresight Africa: Top Priorities for the Continent 2020 to 2030. [Online] Available at: https://www.africaportal.org/publications/foresight-africa-top-priorities-continent-2020-2030/ [Accessed 31 March 2020].

DePamphilis, D., 2019. Mergers, acquisition, and other restructuring activities. 2 ed. London: Elsevier.

Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, 2019. Abstract of Agricultural Statistics. [Online] Available at: https://www.daff.gov.za/Daffweb3/Portals/0/Statistics%20and%20Economic%20Analysis/Statistical%20Information/Abstract%202019.pdf [Accessed 30 March 2020].

Dhakal, B. & Kattel, R. R., 2019. Effects of global changes on ecosystems services of multiple natural resources in mountain agricultural landscapes. Journal of Science of the Total Environment, 676(1), pp. 665-682.

Diallo, M. & Wouterse, F., 2022. Agricultural development promises more growth and less poverty in Africa: Modelling the potential impact of implementing the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme in six countries. Development Policy Review, 10(3), pp. 111-119.

Dus, A. K., Goswami, M. & Bezbaruah, P., 2022. Agricultural factors markets India's small farmers. 2nd ed. New Dehli: SAGE Publications.

Dutta, S., 2019. Rural Unemployment in Gujarat and West Bengal. South Asia Research, 39(1), pp.1-22.

Friedrich, L. et al., 2020. Using ecosystem service assessments to support participatory marine spatial planning. Journal of Ocean & Coastal Management, 188(15).

Garner, E. & Paula, A., 2014. Identifying the Family farm: An informal discussion of the concepts and definitions. [Online] Available at: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4306e.pdf [Accessed 30 March 2020].

Godfray, C. et al., 2020. Food Security: The Challenge of Feeding 9 billion People. AAAS, 327(5967), pp. 812-818.

Harwood, R., 2019. Small Farm Development: Understanding and Improving Farming Systems. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge.

Harwood, R., 2019. Small Farm Development: Understanding and Improving Farming Systems. 2 ed. New York: Routledge.

Hoang, L. K., Tran, T. & Dinh,. T. H., 2022. Challenges for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda Educational Goals for Ethnic Minority Groups in Vietnam. 1st ed. Vietnam: Routledge.

Hossain, S. T., 2020. Impacts of COVID-19 on the Agri-food Sector: Food Security Policies of Asian. The Journal of Agricultural Sciences - Sri Lanka, 15(2), pp. 116-132.

Jayne, T. et al., 2022. Changing Farm Size Distributions and Agricultural Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Annual Review of Resource Economics, 12(2022), pp. 109-130.

Jili, N., Masuku, M. & Nzimakwe, T., 2019. Enhancing pro-poor local economic development initiatives towards expediting sustainable development goals: King Cetshwayo District Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal. Journal of Public Administration, 54(4), pp. 790-801.

Joshi, P. K. & Tyagi, K. N., 2019. Small Farm holders and climate change. In: 1st, ed. Overcoming the impacts in India. Singapore: Springer, pp. 33-87.

Kamble, S., Gunasekaran, A. & Gawankar, S., 2020. Achieving sustainable performance in a data-driven agriculture supply chain: A review for research and applications. International Journal of Production Economics, Volume 219, pp. 179-194.

Kempen, E., 2020. Sustainable Futures Through Consumer Science: Perspectives from the Global South. [Online] Available at: www.saafecs.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/SAAFECS-Conference-2020-Book-of-Abstracts.pdf#page=147 [Accessed 28 March 2020].

Leanda, M. N., 2022. Investigating the contribution of social cash transfers to the food security situation of agricultural-based rural households of Nhlazuka, Richmond Municipality, South Africa. [Online] Available at: https://ukzn-dspace.ukzn.ac.za/handle/10413/20664 [Accessed 1 November 2022].

Merkel, R., 2019. Stallholder Livestock Commercialization. Journal of Indonesian Bulletin of Animal and Veterinary sciences, 29(1), pp. 37-46.

Mettetal, E., 2019. Irrigation dams, water and infant mortality: Evidence from South Africa. Journal of Development Economics, 138(2019), pp. 17-40.

Miller, R., Jorgensen, M. & Stewart, D., 2019. Supply Chain Management and Native American Entrepreneurs. 2 ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mkuhlani, S. et al., 2020. Classification of small-scale farmers for improved rainfall variability management in South Africa. Agro ecological and Sustainable Food Systems, 44(1), pp. 7-29.

Moock, J. L., 2019. Understanding Africa's Rural Household and Farming Systems. 3 ed. New York: Routledge.

Muyanga, M. et al., 2019. Changing Farm Structure and Agricultural Commercialization in Nigeria. [Online] Available at: https://opendocs.ids.ac.uk/opendocs/handle/20.500.12413/14576 [Accessed 20 March 2020].

Mwadzingeni, L., Mugandani, R. & Mafongoya, P., 2022. Risks of Climate Change on Future Water Supply in Smallholder Irrigation Schemes in Zimbabwe. MDPI, 14(11).

Myeni, L. et al., 2019. Barriers Affecting Sustainable Agricultural Productivity of Smallholder Farmers in the Eastern Free State of South Africa. Journal of Sustainable Agricultural Diversity, 11(11), pp. 1-14.

Natalie, S., 2019. South Africa’s land reform programme: A case study of the relocation of the Stockenström community to Friemersheim in the Western Cape during the apartheid era, Cape Town: Unviersity of the Western Cape.

Niragira, S. et al., 2019. Historical changes in the traditional agrarian systems of Burundi: endogenous drive to survive from food insecurity. Geo Journal, 12(7), pp. 1-19.

Statistics South Africa. 2021. Quarterly labor force survey. Pretoria: Statistics South Africa

Patterson, L. 2022. Risk factors of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli in livestock raised on diversified small-scale farms in California. Journal of Epidemiology & Infection, 10(1), pp. 123-144.

Polak, J. & Snowball, J., 2019. Linking sustainable local economic development to a market-based carbon control regime: carbon restoration projects in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa using Portulacaria afra. Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences, 12(1), pp. 1-10.

Rajabion, L. 2019. A new model for assessing the impact of the urban intelligent transportation system, farmers’ knowledge and business processes on the success of green supply chain management system for urban distribution of agricultural products. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 50(12), pp. 154-162.

Ramifehiarivo, N., 2022. Framing the future of the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture from science-based evidence. A review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development, 42(102).

Reardon, T. et al., 2019. Rapid transformation of food systems in developing regions: Highlighting the role of agricultural research & innovations. Agriculture Systems, 172(2019), pp. 47-59.

Sarma, A. & Gunajit, S., 2020. The Status of Women Entrepreneurship Development in the Bango-Kathanichuk Village under Bihpuria Revenue Circle in Lakhimpur District of Assam (India). Studies in Indian Place Names, 40(60), pp. 1-13.

Smidt, H. J., 2022. Factors affecting digital technology adoption by small-scale farmers in agriculture value chains (AVCs) in South Africa. Information Technology for Development, 28(3), pp. 558-584.

Smidt, H. & Jokonya, O., 2022. Towards a framework to implement a digital agriculture value chain in South Africa for small-scale farmers. Journal of Transport and Supply Chain Management, 16(1), pp. 131-143.

Sohrabi, C. et al., 2020. World Health Organization declares global emergency: A review of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). International Journal of Surgery, 76(4), pp. 71-76.

Statistics South Africa, 2019. General Household Survey. [Online] Available at: www.statssa.gov.za/?s=general+household+survey&sitem=publicatio&pg=2 [Accessed 29 March 2020].

Tsige, M., Synnevag, G. & Aune, J., 2020. Gendered constraints for adopting climate-smart agriculture amongst smallholder Ethiopian women farmers. Scientific African, 7(2020), pp. 1-12.

World Food Program (WFP). 2022 – A year of Unprecedented Hunger. A global food crisis. Available at: https://www.wfp.org/global-hunger-crisis#:~:text=2022%3A%20a%20year%20of%20unprecedented%20hunger&text=As%20many%20as%20828%20million,on%20the%20edge%20of%20famine.

Yuan, M., 2021. Geographical information science for the United Nations’ 2030 agenda for sustainable development. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 35(1), pp. 1-8

Zantsi, S. & Bester, B., 2019. Revisiting the benefits of animal traction to subsistence smallholder farmers: a case study of Ndabakazi Villages in Butterworth, Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension, 47(3), pp. 1-13.

Thompson, W. 2021. Access Bank to build full service offering after Grobank acquisition. 14 June 2021. Available at: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/companies/financial-services/2021-06-14-access-bank-to-build-full-service-offering-after-grobank-acquisition/

Land Bank. 2022. Online. Available at: https://landbank.co.za/Pages/Home.aspx

ENCA. 2018. Ramaphosa vows faster land redistribution. Thursday 15 March 2018 - 6:18am. Online. Available: https://www.enca.com/south-africa/ramaphosa-vows-faster-land-redistribution

Manoko, T. 2022. ‘We want competent extension officers, please’. 29 July, 2022. [Online] Available at: https://www.foodformzansi.co.za/we-want-competent-extension-officers-please/

Muzekenyi, M. 2020. Measuring technical efficiency of small-scale commercial farming enterprises and their contribution to the local economy in Vhembe District, South Africa. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Venda. [Online]. Available at: https://univendspace.univen.ac.za/handle/11602/1746

Degefa, K., Biru, G., & Abebe, G. 2022. Factors Affecting Tomato Productivity in Western Oromia, Ethiopia: Evidence from Smallholder Farmers. International Journal on Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources, 3(2), 5–10. https://doi.org/10.46676/ij-fanres.v3i2.70

Nguru, W. M., Gachene, C. K. K., Onyango, C. M., Ng’ang’a, S. K., & Girvetz, E. H. 2021. Factors constraining the adoption of soil organic carbon enhancing technologies among small-scale farmers in Ethiopia. Heliyon, 7(12), e08497. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2021.e08497

DOI: https://doi.org/10.46676/ij-fanres.v4i2.136


E-ISSN : 2722-4066

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.