The Economic Rationale for Agricultural Regeneration and Rural Infrastructure Investment in South Africa
This paper informs government policy insofar as it relates to the agricultural and rural de- velopment sectors and infrastructure investment within these sectors. The paper first quantfies the role of agriculture in the South African economy. This is done within the context of, inter alia, food security, agriculture's contribution to gross domestic product (GDP), economic link- ages and multipliers with respect to the agricultural sector, as well as agriculture's employment creation and external stabilisation capacity. Investment in the agricultural and rural sectors are then analysed with a view of supporting the argument that agriculture's role in the economy is su¢ ciently important to warrant regenerative strategies, including renewed emphasis on agricul- tural and rural infrastructure investment by South African policy makers. The quantification of the agricultural sector in relation to the total economy and that of agricultural and rural infrastructure investment are investigated against the backdrop of declining government sup- port, increasing production risks due to a variety of exogenous events like climate change, and increasing dynamic trade impacts. In this paper, the authors offer both supporting arguments in terms of current economic policy and recommendations for more decisive policy measures aimed at agricultural regeneration and rural infrastructure investment.
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