Agricultural employment scenarios
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This paper seeks to re-examine the potential of agriculture to contribute to job creation and poverty reduction in South Africa. It does so mainly through simple spreadsheet-based 'scenario analysis' that seeks to illustrate what is conceivable, complemented by commentary as to what is feasible and likely. It is a re-examination in the sense that there have been various earlier attempts to do much the same, but on a more piecemeal basis. The difference between this and earlier efforts is mainly one of time - this exercise has the advantage of looking back over 10 years of post-apartheid agricultural and land policy, which has somewhat informed our understanding of current trends of what is possible and the constraints we face. The current exercise is also, however, different in terms of operating at an aggregate level rather than in terms of a concrete, well-founded empirical case study. This is an advantage as well as a weakness. The advantage is that the question of agriculture's contribution to jobs, livelihoods and poverty reduction is very much a national one, and can best be appreciated by considering it in this fashion. The weakness is that the present exercise remains quite crude, for example, by not assessing market demand conditions, not seeking to quantify second-order effects, not placing a clear cost on the different possible policies, not capturing important local differences and not taking care to examine resource constraints critically. It is, however, a start which the authors intend to refine in coming months.