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Inequality and agricultural production: Evidence from aggregate agriculture and sugarcane farms in South Africa

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  • Ngepah, Nicholas

Abstract

This article explores the determinants of inequality in productivity in South African agriculture and differentiates between small-scale and large-scale farms in the sugarcane sector. The findings suggest that inequality slows down productivity and that land redistribution slightly improves it. Farm type-specific effects reveal that redistribution per se does not lead to higher production, but only improves production for those who farm the land effectively and go on to harvest the crop. Much of the difference in land productivity between the two farm types arises from disparity in input use, particularly fertilizer and irrigation. Some mutually beneficial collaboration between the two types is possible, skewed in favor of small farms. For small-scale farmers, access to land is necessary but not sufficient: other factors such as fertilizer, irrigation, chemicals and human capital (particularly literacy) must be prioritized. Any policy that creates conflicts between the two types will jeopardize agricultural production, to the detriment of small-scale producers.

Suggested Citation

  • Ngepah, Nicholas, 2010. "Inequality and agricultural production: Evidence from aggregate agriculture and sugarcane farms in South Africa," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 5(2), December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:afjare:156671
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; land redistribution; time series; panel data; sugarcane; South Africa; Crop Production/Industries; Land Economics/Use; Q11; Q15; C22; C23;

    JEL classification:

    • Q11 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Aggregate Supply and Demand Analysis; Prices
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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