Space, markets and employment in agricultural development: South Africa country report
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Throughout much of the developing world, including sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture is frequently viewed as central to efforts to foster development and reduce poverty. Key conceptual and policy issues accordingly raised in relation to agriculture include questions, such as: Who engages in agriculture? What and how do they farm? What gains do they derive? Who is employed and under what conditions are they employed? While these questions are concerned with the direct impact of agriculture, the developmental potential of agriculture also inheres in its relationship to the larger rural non-farm economy (RNFE). Agriculture is hence most likely to contribute to forms of inclusive, pro-poor development, if its growth is accompanied by expansion of the non-farm economy. The present report considers these issues, including the impact of agriculture on the broader rural economy, in relation to South Africa. Central to this enquiry is the larger structure of South Africa’s RNFE, including the manner in which agriculture influences it. The report therefore describes the findings of research undertaken on the spatial and institutional articulation of markets, settlements and livelihoods, in order to examine the relationship between farm and non-farm activities. This is done to facilitate reflection on the contribution (and prospective contribution) of the non-farm economy on rural employment and livelihoods. These are questions of theoretical and policy salience, not only because of their implications for understanding agriculture and the RNFE, but also for a more expansive consideration of livelihoods, poverty and employment.