Livestock Ranching and the Restructuring of Agriculture in South Africa's 'Homelands'

While the Land Acts which led to the creation of the Homelands have been identified as one of the cornerstones of apartheid, there is consensus amongst analysts that to simply scrap this legislation is unlikely to address the severe inequality in the distribution of land. Clearly considerable political pressure will be brought to bear on future governments to adopt more affirmative steps for the redistribution of agricultural land, and the promotion of a deracialised agricultural sector. Land reform is an emotive issue and the racial division of land in South Africa has been highly contentious over the past forty years. Redistribution then has a purely political dimension, although there is an important economic rationale as well. Overcrowding and overstocking have led to the degradation of a sizable proportion of South Africa's farming land and needs to be attended to. A relatively large proportion of the Homeland population is likely to remain in the rural areas and will depend upon agriculture to meet a part of their subsistence needs in at least the short term. In addition, an excessively unequal distribution of productive resources is regarded as been undesirable for the development process (Fiqueroa, 1975), and redistribution itself therefore has the potential to promote economic growth if properly implemented. One area of potential development is the promotion of livestock ranching, and this paper suggests that livestock ranching has significant opportunities as a means of promoting agricultural development in South Africa. Some of the factors which will have an impact on the form which any land redistribution should take will be discussed as the future basis for livestock development. The paper will conclude by suggesting some ideas as to how constraints might be overcome, and opportunities maximised.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2017-04-26

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