n Agrekon - Provinces and agricultural development challenge or opportunity

Volume 52, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0303-1853
  • E-ISSN: 2078-0400
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The purpose of this paper is to explore the state and agriculture at the subnational sphere; an area currently receiving little attention in the South African agricultural economics fraternity. It is argued that South Africa's Constitution bestows certain decision-making and legislative powers on its nine provinces and that public goods and redistributive policy options are available to the agricultural sector. As about two-thirds of South African agricultural expenditure (83% if conditional grants are included) takes place at provincial level, it was shown that provincial dynamics are relevant. While the characteristics of tribal populations in provinces are found to be important, a poor alignment between provincial agricultural expenditure and certain elements of consequence (employment, value addition, etc.) can be shown.

The paper also deconstructs the commonly used terms "state" and "agriculture" at a provincial level and dwell on the concept of the rational civil servant. In the case of the state, the challenge of moving beyond institutionalised silos is discussed. It is shown that agriculture consists out amultitude of actors, that representation often overlap and that similarities with a "tragedy of the commons" can be observed in the way some of the actors maximise personal gains. To understand the system non-traditional schools of thought such as "social economic systems" and "bounded rationality" may provide answers.

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