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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Motives for mechanisation in South African agriculture, c. 1940-1980
Author:Schirmer, StefanISNI
Periodical:African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:agricultural workers
labour relations
farm management
agricultural mechanization
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
History and Exploration
Abstract:This paper analyses qualitative evidence that suggests that many white farmers across South Africa between c. 1940 and 1980 were motivated to adopt more and better mechanical implements by a dissatisfaction with the state of agricultural labour relations. The argument put forward is not that the cost of mechanization was irrelevant for farmers, nor that mechanization was always economically inefficient, but the paper emphasizes that the paternalist system that farmers maintained with State assistance created labour relations that farmers on the whole regarded as highly unsatisfactory. Further, thanks once again to substantial State regulation, farmers could afford to allow their perception of black workers as inherently unreliable to act as a central, independent motive for moving over to a more mechanized mode of production. Farmers did not face the competitive pressures that would have forced them to make optimal use of their inputs, and while mechanization probably improved the productivity on farms this was often an unintended consequence rather than the primary force driving the process forwards. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]