Challenging the stereotypes: Small-scale black farmers and private sector support programmes in South Africa
du Toit, Andries
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This report represents one of the outputs of a research and social dialogue project undertaken over 18 months. It was carried out by researchers from the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), based at the University of the Western Cape, in collaboration with the Southern Africa Food Lab, based at the University of Stellenbosch, between January 2013 and July 2014. The project focused on the role of the private sector in supporting small-scale black farmers to participate in agricultural value chains. This was not a purely academic research project. Although empirical research formed its backbone, it fed into a broader process of social dialogue and learning, convened by SAFL and facilitated by Reos Partners1. Research insights informed ‘learning journeys’ and ‘innovation labs’ that took place concurrently with the research. In these, field visits and workshop discussions and debates brought together a range of key role-players in the South African food system to explore the challenges and opportunities facing black farmers, and the manner in which these are being responded to by key actors from the private sector. This process is being carried forward by SAFL in a further process of structured innovation. The present report captures the most important insights and lessons from the research component of the initial phases of the project.