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The rise of supermarkets and challenges for small farmers in South African food value chains


  • Peter Dannenberg


After over 20 years the rise of supermarkets in South Africa continues and has now reached the rural and urban poor as new customer segments. Supermarkets are thereby also putting traditional and informal food vendors into increasing competition. However, traditional and informal distribution ways are so far the most important sales opportunities for millions of small farmers, which are mostly not capable to fulfil the requirements of the supermarket chains. This paper explains the actual developments in the South African food value chains, and resulting actual and future challenges for small-scale farmers in their national context. The study is based on a conceptual framework which links existing approaches on analysing the integration of small farms in supply chains in a South African context with the Global Value Chain approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Dannenberg, 2013. "The rise of supermarkets and challenges for small farmers in South African food value chains," ECONOMIA AGRO-ALIMENTARE, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 15(3), pages 15-34.
  • Handle: RePEc:fan:ecaqec:v:html10.3280/ecag2013-003003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Johann Kirsten & Kurt Sartorius, 2002. "Linking agribusiness and small-scale farmers in developing countries: Is there a new role for contract farming?," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(4), pages 503-529.
    2. Louw, Andre & Jordaan, Daniel du Plessis Scheepers & Ndanga, Leah Z.B. & Kirsten, Johann F., 2008. "Alternative marketing options for small-scale farmers in the wake of changing agri-food supply chains in South Africa," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 47(3), September.
    3. Pierre Matungul & Michael Lyne & Gerald Ortmann, 2001. "Transaction costs and crop marketing in the communal areas of Impendle and Swayimana, KwaZulu-Natal," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 347-363.
    4. Peter Dannenberg & Gilbert M. Nduru, 2013. "Practices In International Value Chains: The Case Of The Kenyan Fruit And Vegetable Chain Beyond The Exclusion Debate," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 104(1), pages 41-56, February.
    5. Neil M. Coe & Martin Hess, 2005. "The internationalization of retailing: implications for supply network restructuring in East Asia and Eastern Europe," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(4), pages 449-473, August.
    6. Vermeulen, Hester & Kirsten, Johann F. & Sartorius, Kurt, 2008. "Contracting arrangements in agribusiness procurement practices in South Africa," Agrekon, Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA), vol. 47(2), June.
    7. D'Haese, Marijke & Van Huylenbroeck, Guido, 2005. "The rise of supermarkets and changing expenditure patterns of poor rural households case study in the Transkei area, South Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 97-113, February.
    8. Dave D. Weatherspoon & Thomas Reardon, 2003. "The Rise of Supermarkets in Africa: Implications for Agrifood Systems and the Rural Poor," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 21, pages 333-355, May.
    9. Bienabe, Estelle & Vermeulen, Hester, 2007. "New trends in supermarkets procurement system in South Africa: the case of local procurement schemes from small-scale farmers by rural-based retail chain stores," 103rd Seminar, April 23-25, 2007, Barcelona, Spain 9394, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    10. Anika Trebbin & Markus Hassler, 2012. "Farmers’ producer companies in India: a new concept for collective action?," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 44(2), pages 411-427, February.
    11. Anika Trebbin & Markus Hassler, 2012. "Farmers' Producer Companies in India: A New Concept for Collective Action?," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 44(2), pages 411-427, February.
    12. Soler Louis-Georges, 2005. "Retailer Strategies in the Food Marketing Chain: Introduction to the Special Issue," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-7, February.
    13. Patrick Biernacki & Dan Waldorf, 1981. "Snowball Sampling: Problems and Techniques of Chain Referral Sampling," Sociological Methods & Research, , vol. 10(2), pages 141-163, November.
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    JEL classification:

    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade
    • F63 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Economic Development


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