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The South African agricultural economy consists of a large number of subsistence farmers compared to commercial ones. However, there has being a general decline in subsistence farming, more people are moving into urban areas than before – there are more opportunities in the mining sector, factories, informal sector. Also, education, healthcare facilities in urban areas are better than in rural areas.

This rapid urbanisation has in part lead to a gradual decline in subsistence farming, and in part a role in reinforcing the poverty trap that most South African living in – most the people who hoped to find work opportunities in urban areas end up in the informal trading sector or no work at all.

Generally, people end up worse-off in urban areas than they would have in rural areas. Moreover, food is relatively expensive; despite this, people still prefer to stay in urban areas because they believe that there are more work opportunities here as compare to rural areas.

And, so farming remain a neglected field of opportunities; the topography is South Africa is a semi-arid country - although there are variations in climate as well as topography. Only 13% of surface area is good for crop farming, of that 13%, 22% is considered high potential land. It has an uneven distribution of rain.


· Climate – uneven rainfall; water shortage.

· Availability of surface area – mostly semi-arid

· Poverty – food prices (worldwide) are on a rise; most people find it hard afford necessities, despite severally social support efforts initiated by the government.

· Infrastructure: South Africa has strong links between urban areas, but it’s linkage between rural and urban area is poor.

I’m currently not aware of innovative solutions -(with exclusion of Abalimi) that are underway, but efforts are made in the right direction to re-address issues in and around rural development, and possibly, development of subsistence farming......research pending.

Views: 39

Comment by Ayala Sherbow on March 15, 2010 at 4:33am
Thanks for the information Rendani. And don't forget to give yourself a power pt as well!
Comment by Bongumusa on March 15, 2010 at 6:09am
I like the fact that South African Agricultural is basically focusing on subsistance farming. Meaning that most farmers produce for their household than society trading. It causes problems becauses every person has a right to have access to healthy food regardless of whether he bought it or received in form any exchange. As long as there is an availabity of food, it is good for the society. You must not keep eating while your neighbour is dying of hunger. We need to create the society of sympathy and caregivers.
Comment by kiyash on March 15, 2010 at 7:07pm
I'd never heard of Abalimi before. Thank you for pointing them out: http://www.abalimi.org.za/
Comment by Reid Falconer on March 15, 2010 at 7:11pm
Great blog, I wrote a blog on abalimi- http://www.urgentevoke.com/profiles/blogs/learn2-food-security-in-s... take a look and tell me what you think?
Comment by Jen Shaffer on March 22, 2010 at 11:44pm
Herding has long been a part of South African cultures. As have the use of wild foods. Many subsistence farmers do use wild foods to supplement household food supplies - both plant and animal. There has already been much information gathered, but South African scientists need to work more with local subsistence farmers to develop some of these wild foods.


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