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Should subsistence agriculture be supported as a strategy to address rural food insecurity?

Author

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  • Aliber, Michael
  • Hart, Tim G.B.

Abstract

At first glance South Africa’s black farming sector appears to contribute rather minimally to overall agricultural output in South Africa. However, despite the complexity involved in this sector and the often marginal conditions in which agriculture is practised it appears to be important to a large number of black households. Furthermore, the significance they attach to subsistence agriculture as means of supplementing household food supplies seems to heavily outweigh other reasons for engaging in agriculture. Some South African researchers have indicated the contribution subsistence production makes to household food security, despite the prevalent complexities and the low input nature of this production. Statistics South Africa’s Labour Force Survey data from 2001 to 2007 and a case study of subsistence farming in Limpopo Province are used to support the argument that, despite the complexity of this sector, the more than 4 million subsistence farmers, need and merit greater support. Such support should be based on the local context, build on and, where appropriate, improve existing local practices, while addressing various existing threats to this type of production. Recommendations are made as to what policy makers need to consider when considering how best to support subsistence production.

Suggested Citation

  • Aliber, Michael & Hart, Tim G.B., 2009. "Should subsistence agriculture be supported as a strategy to address rural food insecurity?," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 48(4), December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:agreko:58215
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    Cited by:

    1. Letty, Brigid & Shezi, Zanele & Mudhara, Maxwell, 2012. "An exploration of agricultural grassroots innovation in South Africa and implications for innovation indicator development," MERIT Working Papers 023, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Otterbach, Steffen & Rogan, Michael, 2017. "Spatial differences in stunting and household agricultural production in South African: (re-)examining the links using national panel survey data," Hohenheim Discussion Papers in Business, Economics and Social Sciences 13-2017, University of Hohenheim, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences.
    3. S. Sharaunga & M. Mudhara, 2016. "The impact of improved ‘water-use security’ on women’s reliance on agricultural incomes in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 8(6), pages 1039-1052, December.
    4. Sheona Shackleton & Marty Luckert, 2015. "Changing Livelihoods and Landscapes in the Rural Eastern Cape, South Africa: Past Influences and Future Trajectories," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 1-30, November.
    5. Ambagna, Jean Joël & Kane, Gilles Quentin & Oyekale Abayomi, Samuel, 2012. "Subsistence Farming and Food Security in Cameroon: A Macroeconomic Approach," MPRA Paper 62756, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2012.
    6. Otterbach, Steffen & Rogan, Michael, 2017. "Spatial Differences in Stunting and Household Agricultural Production in South Africa: (Re-)Examining the Links Using National Panel Survey Data," IZA Discussion Papers 11008, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Sinyolo, Sikhulumile & Mudhara, Maxwell & Wale, Edilegnaw, 2016. "To what extent does dependence on social grants affect smallholder farmers’ incentives to farm? Evidence from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 11(2), June.
    8. Busayo Oluwatayo, Isaac & Machethe, Tanya A. & Senyolo, Mmapatla P., 0. "Profitability And Efficiency Analysis Of Smallholder Broiler Production In Mopani District Of Limpopo Province, South Africa," Journal of Agribusiness and Rural Development, University of Life Sciences, Poznan, Poland, issue 1.
    9. Pienaar, Louw & Traub, Lulama, 2015. "Understanding the smallholder farmer in South Africa: Towards a sustainable livelihoods classification," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212633, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    10. Szirmai A. & Gebreeyesus M. & Guadagno F. & Verspagen B., 2013. "Promoting productive employment in Sub‐Saharan Africa : a review of the literature," MERIT Working Papers 062, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).

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