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Agricultural technology, productivity and employment: Policies for poverty reduction

  • Thirtle, Colin G.
  • Piesse, Jenifer
  • Gouse, Marnus

This paper begins by arguing that agricultural economics has an important contribution to make to the economic transition of the new democratic South Africa. Policies are required to reduce unemployment, poverty and inequality, but does the work of agricultural economists provide the policy makers with the information necessary to make the correct choices? In this context, we update our recent work on technology, efficiency and productivity in South African agriculture, for both the commercial and smallholder sub-sectors. For the commercial sector, this means extending the total factor productivity index and estimates of the demand for labour. For the smallholder sector, there are new results on the impacts of GM cotton and white maize on output and employment. However, this piecemeal approach treats the two sectors as entirely separate, when they are actually interdependent. Thus, a Ricardian model of dualistic agriculture is used to explain the historical development of dualism in agriculture, especially how the native agriculturalists were impoverished by the colonists. Then this model is adapted to resemble the Harris-Todaro model of urban unemployment is order to represent the present dual agricultural sector. This allows the current policy options to be compared, although real data is needed to estimate the relationships and so the full analysis remains incomplete.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/31719
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Article provided by Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA) in its journal Agrekon.

Volume (Year): 44 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:ags:agreko:31719
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.aeasa.org.za/
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  1. Qaim, Matin & De Janvry, Alain, 2005. "Bt cotton and pesticide use in Argentina: economic and environmental effects," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(02), pages 179-200, May.
  2. Binswanger, Hans P. & Deininger, Klaus, 1993. "South African land policy: The legacy of history and current options," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 21(9), pages 1451-1475, September.
  3. Gouse, Marnus & Kirsten, Johann F. & Jenkins, Lindie, 2002. "Bt Cotton In South Africa: Adoption And The Impact On Farm Incomes Amongst Small-Scale And Large Scale Farmers," Working Papers 18022, University of Pretoria, Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development.
  4. A. Bailey & K. Balcombe & J. Morrison & C. Thirtle, 2003. "A comparison of proxy variable and stochastic latent variable approaches to the measurement of bias in technological change in south african agriculture," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 315-324.
  5. Huang, Jikun & Hu, Ruifa & Rozelle, Scott & Qiao, Fangbin & Pray, Carl E., 2002. "Transgenic varieties and productivity of smallholder cotton farmers in China," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 46(3), September.
  6. Johann Kirsten & Julian May & Sheryl Hendriks & Charles L. Machethe & Cecelia Punt & Mike Lyne, 2007. "South Africa," Chapters, in: Beyond Food Production, chapter 8 Edward Elgar.
    • Nick Vink & Gavin Williams & Johann Kirsten, 2004. "South Africa," Chapters, in: The World's Wine Markets, chapter 12 Edward Elgar.
  7. Thirtle, Colin & Beyers, Lindie & Ismael, Yousouf & Piesse, Jenifer, 2003. "Can GM-Technologies Help the Poor? The Impact of Bt Cotton in Makhathini Flats, KwaZulu-Natal," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 717-732, April.
  8. Schimmelpfennig, David E. & Norton, George W., 2000. "What Value Is Agricultural Economics Research?," 2000 Annual meeting, July 30-August 2, Tampa, FL 21773, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  9. Hofs, J.L. & Kirsten, Johann F., 2001. "Genetically Modified Cotton In South Africa: The Solution For Rural Development?," Working Papers 18045, University of Pretoria, Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development.
  10. Conradie, Beatrice, 2005. "Wages and wage elasticities for wine and table grapes in South Africa," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 44(1), March.
  11. Hansen, Bent, 1979. "Colonial Economic Development with Unlimited Supply of Land: A Ricardian Case," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(4), pages 611-27, July.
  12. Bhavani Shankar & Colin Thirtle, 2005. "Pesticide Productivity and Transgenic Cotton Technology: The South African Smallholder Case," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(1), pages 97-116.
  13. David E. Schimmelpfennig & George W. Norton, 2003. "What is the Value of Agricultural Economics Research?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(1), pages 81-94.
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