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Transition paths into the South African sugar industry: Implications to Farm Ownership by new Freehold Growers

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Agricultural Economics, Education and Extension Botswana College of Agriculture , Botswana

Int. Res. J. Social Sci., Volume 5, Issue (2), Pages 1-5, February,14 (2016)


There is likelihood that the structure and demographics of the South African (SA) sugar industry will continue changing given numerous agrarian reform policies introduced by the ANC government, post 1994. The government’s land redistribution program is one of such policies aimed at enabling some PDIs to own land and engage in commercial agriculture. The introduction of black farmers into the SA sugar industry may in the long-run, influence and determine entry paths into the industry. This paper (i) reports on the entry paths into the SA sugar industry in KwaZulu- Natal (KZN) by the new freehold growers (NFGs), (ii) highlights some wider implications of the NFGs’ entry paths to sugarcane farm ownership and (iii) suggests some policy implications. The majority (80 and 91%) of the 43 surveyed NFGs respectively had no educational background in agriculture and business related fields. Nearly 70% (30) of the surveyed NFGs had prior experience in general management, with the majority (46.6%) of them from the North Coast region. Almost nine percent of the sample NFGs had prior experience in managing a sugarcane farm. These study results therefore, suggest that most of the respondents fall in the rare entry path and may lack key farm business management skills and hence increased need for extension services, mentorship, training and other support services. Policy makers therefore, need to craft and implement support services customized to meet needs of NFGs from diverse backgrounds. Further, there is need to do detailed NFG needs assessments and profile emerging farmers according to their backgrounds, training and development needs in order to optimize the intended benefits of support services.


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