An exploration into the opportunities and barriers of vegetable production as a poverty reduction strategy for small scale farmers : evidence from a case study in Nqutu, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Since South Africa’s democratic transition poverty, especially in terms of income, has persisted. Poverty reduction strategies must focus on closing the gaps of current policies which miss the poorest. Specifically, attention must be paid to those living in rural areas. While the use of agriculture as a poverty reduction strategy was envisioned by government as one of the key components of land reform and rural advancement, its potential has been limited as South Africa agriculture in the post-apartheid era is challenged with providing opportunities and support for small-scale farming systems. It was thus the aim of this dissertation to address part of this crisis by engaging with smallscale farmers in an attempt to understand the barriers and opportunities that they confront when accessing inputs needed for agricultural production that contributes towards their livelihoods. This was explored through a case study in which two focus groups and ten qualitative interviews were conducted. Through this it was found that land is being used productively by resource poor farmers as a pathway from poverty. The inability to purchase fencing and the lack of easy access to water proved to be the two most significant barriers to crop production while accessibility to seeds was found not to be an issue when controlling for financial limitations. Opportunities arose as respondents relied on interdependent relationships between the different assets in their possession. Overall, it was concluded that with a more appropriate support system which focused on overcoming the lack of information and resources, as well as the lack of services and infrastructure productivity could improve giving small farmers the potential to make a larger contribution to reducing poverty.
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