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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Re-thinking agricultural development in South Africa: Black commercial farmers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
Author:Schirmer, StefanISNI
Periodical:African Historical Review (ISSN 1753-2531)
Geographic term:South Africa
agricultural history
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/17532523.2015.1086179
Abstract:This article examines which factors contributed to farmers using land more productively in the past. The article argues that the process behind productivity improvements is strongly associated with, although not confined to, a transition to commercial farming. By focusing on Black farmers who were successful in making this transition, the paper hopes to provide a clear, historically-rooted perspective on the prospects for eradicating the on-going racial divisions within the South African farming sector. The paper starts by defining the concept 'commercial farming' and then outlines the challenges that make this type of economic orientation difficult to adopt, as well as pointing to the factors that make some farmers more capable of becoming commercial than others. By reviewing what is known about the ways in which Black farmers responded to economic opportunities - as well as to political and social obstacles - the article provides fresh insight into the factors behind these successes and concludes by assessing the implications of this approach for land reform policy in South Africa. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]