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n Journal of Contemporary Management - Enterprise skills and performance : an empirical study of smallholder farmers in Kwa-Zulu Natal
Background: The article empirically investigates the extent to which various enterprise skills are related to smallholder farming enterprise performance. These skills encompass management skills, marketing skills, production skills, infrastructural utilisation skills, ICT skills, financial management skills, as well as attitudes towards business.
Methods: A quantitative and cross-sectional design was used with a structured survey to collect data. The target population was smallholder farmers in the Zululand District Municipality of Kwa-Zulu Natal Province of South Africa. Regression analysis was used to test the hypotheses.
Findings: The results indicate that the respondents recognise the importance of various skills associated with agribusiness performance which include the value of investing in infrastructure, the importance of developing a brand for their business, and the importance of hiring a financial manager to ensure sustainability.
Conclusions: Gaining proficiency in the skills identified remains one of the key challenges in promoting commercial farming in rural areas in South Africa. Skills development should be grounded in the context and in the task environment of the farmers' operations. To carry out a job or task skilfully is to do it proficiently, that is competently. This suggests practical standards of proficiency, and the need for standards to be developed for smallholder farming enterprises.
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