Evaluating the impact of government support programme on the development of land reform farms in South Africa

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Mphahlele, Ramakgodu Benjamin
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University of the Free State
Concerns have been raised in various studies regarding the unproductive use of agricultural land acquired through land reform programme. Given the vital role of agriculture in creating jobs and ensuring food security, it is essential to make concerted efforts to promote the development of land reform farms for commercial purposes. This study aims to evaluate the initiatives undertaken by various stakeholders to facilitate the commercial use of land reform farms and contribute empirical evidence to shape support programs. The study is guided by the development theory, which emphasises the importance of considering the actors and structural powers in the development process, as their influence plays a pivotal role in the relevance of policies. The researcher sought to demonstrate how the development theory has informed the existing policies related to the development of land reform farms. To gather comprehensive data, a mixed-method approach was employed, allowing for the triangulation of findings from various sources. Quantitative data was collected from 122 participants using survey questionnaires, while qualitative insights were obtained through three focus group discussions with farmers and four open-ended discussions with commodity organizations. For data analysis, Microsoft Software Package (Version 2020) was utilised, and a Pearson Correlation Coefficient approach was applied to examine the nature, strength, and direction of the key variables being measured. Additionally, a correlation coefficient was used to assess the frequency and direction of interactions between these variables. The study indicates that most farmers gained income from farming due to land access and support. Partnership effectiveness was insufficient for enhancing most farmers' skill sets. Although Land Development Support (LDS) fulfilled most of farmers' desires for commercial farming, farm sustainability might suffer due to insufficient entrepreneurial aptitude. Additionally, comprehensive stakeholder consultation in policy development could enhance policy relevance for addressing potential challenges in farm sustainability. Land size and its utilisation (r= -0.2700); Funding sufficiency for farm production (r=0.1775); Income derived after LDS ( r=0.5212); Aspirations of farmers (r=0.0757); Partnership arrangement and sustainability of production (r=0.0044) emphasises the importance of remodelling the partnership arrangement to cub its current challenges. In conclusion these findings underline the need for a more streamlined approach that involves the active participation of relevant stakeholders, a well-defined funding model, and the selection and capacity building of farmers involved in developing land reform farms. This holistic approach is essential to address the challenges associated with unproductive land use and to foster the successful development of land reform farms for commercial purposes, thereby contributing to enhanced food security and job creation.
Thesis (Ph.D.(Sustainable Agriculture))--University of the Free State, 2023
Land Reform, commercialisation, partnership, entrepreneurship, Smallholder- commercial orientated