Development support and contributions for beneficiaries: A case study of the Agribusiness Development Agency, KwaZulu-Natal.
The democratic government of South Africa has continuously funded agricultural policies and programs that aim to address the challenges of the past, and provided more opportunities for black farmers to participate in the economy of the country. However, there is little evidence available on whether or not government programs have been effective and relevant. Studies conducted have predominantly focused on the contribution of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and faith-based organizations towards agricultural development and improving rural livelihoods. This study contributes to the limited available knowledge around the effectiveness and sustainability of government interventions. The study analysis provides the ability to compare Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA) staff perceptions of ADA program effectiveness, with farmer-identified characteristics of what constitutes appropriate support for farmer development. Qualitative in its approach, a purposeful selection of ADA staff and beneficiary farmers from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) were interviewed, using a structured questionnaire. Findings of the study revealed that support provided by the ADA is in agreement with what the farmers considered to be appropriate support for agricultural activity. In particular, support is more suitable for highly motivated individual farmers than it is for secondary cooperatives (two or more primary cooperatives who come together to access inputs and funding). However, where input provision and decision-making is controlled by implementing agents, it was revealed that farmers in this study are not becoming independent decision-makers. Moreover, development theory identifies this type of support as incapable of promoting sustainable rural development because it lacks the building of human capability.