Business framework for managing the sustainability of emerging farmers in South Africa
Throughout South Africa’s history of colonisation and the introduction of apartheid in 1948, many injustices occurred and a large population of South Africans were negatively impacted by the system of racial segregation. The end of apartheid in 1994 signalled a new era for South Africa, and a platform was set to correct the wrongs of the past. One of the many programmes that was implemented is a system of land reform that is focussed on correcting the injustices of previous land acts. The aim of land reform is for restitution and redistribution of mainly agricultural land to previously disadvantage people of colour. Agriculture is the cornerstone for South Africa and is one of the key contributing factors towards food security, employment and gross domestic product. It can be concluded that the agricultural value chain forms an integral part of the South African social and economic spectrum and is continuously striving to produce more products and services efficiently and improve the overall well-being of all South Africans. Land reform allows for the integration of emerging farmers in the primary agriculture sector and is one of the key focus points for agriculture in South Africa. The goal of the study is to establish the current situation of emerging farmers and to evaluate the challenges and readiness to have a better understanding of what is needed for emerging farmers in South Africa to succeed. The purpose of this study is to develop a business framework to manage the sustainability of emerging farmers. The primary and secondary objectives of the study were to identify the business framework from an in-depth literature study to assist in strategic decision making to ensure the sustainability of emerging farmers. The literature study is a holistic and in-depth analysis of all the variables that form part of the agricultural value chain in South Africa that include economic, climate, soil, commodities, and pricing as well as agriculture production for emerging farmers. The literature study examined a comparison between commercial and emerging farmers to clearly identify challenges and support structures. The study used awareness of land reform, and land acts, objectives of land reform and the land reform process to assert the importance of emerging farmers in the South African agricultural value chain. The literature also examined recommendations on a sound theoretical base from various stakeholders regarding land reform and improving the sustainability of emerging farmers. To validate the literature research with practical experience of emerging farmers, a qualitative research method was used with qualitative face-to-face interviews to gather information from participants. Participants included emerging farmers and commercial farmers for comparison. A holistic approach was followed in the interviews to understand the challenges faced by emerging farmers, to assert what is needed to succeed and to gain a better understanding of their needs. The results indicated that there is a lack of focus and clear direction from the government, and this is adding to the failure rate of emerging farmers. The main internal factors indicated by the research that influence emerging farmers are the lack of knowledge, experience, mentorship, policy uncertainty and funding. The main external factors identified were climate change. The study indicated that generational knowledge and experience, along with inheritance, were key to the success of commercial farmers. Following the literature study and qualitative research, the conclusion was used to make recommendations for the challenges faced by emerging farmers and build a proposed business framework around three scenarios for managing the sustainability of emerging farmers. The recommendation and business framework focused on practical suggestions for the challenges. The importance for all stakeholders in agriculture to address the challenges with land reform and emerging farmers were highlighted to ensure that notice is taken and adoption of proposed recommendations to ensure the sustainability of emerging farmers and to help emerging farmers succeed in South Africa and to transition to a self-sustainable commercial farmer.