The Role of Agriculture in Poverty Reduction
Edited by Fabrizio Bresciani and Alberto Valdés
Chapter 8: South Africa
Johann Kirsten, Julian May, Sheryl Hendriks, Mike Lyne, Charles L. Machethe and Cecilia Punt 8.1 INTRODUCTION A systematic investigation of the agricultural growth–poverty relationship requires identiﬁcation of the main channels through which agricultural growth has an impact on poverty and an understanding of the conditions under which these channels operate eﬀectively. The main channels through which agricultural growth potentially can contribute to poverty reduction are: (i) a general equilibrium eﬀect through the increase of unskilled labour wage rate and employment; (ii) an increase in smallholders’ income; (iii) higher agricultural output leading to lower food prices; and (iv) forward/backward linkage eﬀects which spur non-farm income growth and investment in agro-industries and other downstream activities. The objective of this study is to analyse the contribution of agriculture in South Africa towards poverty alleviation and food security through each of these potential channels/mechanisms. The analysis relies largely on secondary studies and some reassessment of data collected in earlier years. This study also highlights the food security contribution of agriculture and illustrates how agricultural activity in rural households inﬂuences household food security. 8.2 THE EXTENT, DISTRIBUTION AND NATURE OF POVERTY IN POST-APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA In 1993 almost half of South Africa’s population were categorised as poor using a national poverty line, and one-ﬁfth earned less that $1 per day 188 South Africa 189 (Klasen, 1997). Over 60 percent of Africans were poor compared to just 1 percent of the white population. Woolard and Leibbrandt (2001) use a...
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