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Socio-economic dimensions of small-scale agriculture: A principal component analysis


  • John Essa
  • W Lieb Nieuwoudt


In order to study the different dimensions of small-scale farmers in KwaZulu-Natal, a principal component analysis was conducted on data obtained from a sample survey of 160 households. The following socio-economic components were extracted: Component 1 is an emerging commercial and mechanised household (i.e. it uses machinery), while Component 2 is a landless farm household that is more educated and earns more non-farm income, largely from contractor services. Component 3 is a non-farm female-headed household that depends on income from land renting and a non-farm job. This is a resource-poor household. Component 4 is a small intensive garden farmer household headed by a more educated female with better access to institutional services. Component 5 is a less educated, female-headed and land-poor household that rents in more land and is an intensive producer. Component 6 is a land-less household that rents in land and is also involved in contractor services. The implication is that policies aimed at assisting small-scale farmers should take into account the different dimensions of farmers, as economic policies may influence different households differently.

Suggested Citation

  • John Essa & W Lieb Nieuwoudt, 2003. "Socio-economic dimensions of small-scale agriculture: A principal component analysis," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 67-73.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:20:y:2003:i:1:p:67-73
    DOI: 10.1080/0376835032000065462

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    Cited by:

    1. Goodness C. Aye & Eric D. Mungatana, 2013. "Evaluating The Performance Of Small Scale Maize Producers In Nigeria: An Integrated Distance Function Approach," Review of Urban & Regional Development Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(2), pages 79-92, July.
    2. Louw Pienaar & Dieter von Fintel, 2013. "Hunger in the former apartheid homelands: Determinants of converging food security 100 years after the 1913 Land Act," Working Papers 26/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
    3. 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.

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