Inequality and Economic Inclusion

Strategies to support South African smallholders as a contribution to government’s second economy strategy - Volume 2: Case studies

  • Year: 2011
  • Organisation: PLAAS
  • Publication Author(s): Michael Aliber
  • Countries and Regions: South Africa

This case study provides a comparative analysis of two different initiatives designed to promote the smallholder sector in metropolitan Cape Town.

The City of Cape Town has developed an urban agriculture policy and initiated a joint venture between itself, the Provincial Department of Agriculture and private sector partners to put in place a fresh produce market in the Philippi area. The objective of the market is to provide the “suction force to enable the establishment of more than 2 500 emerging farmers and the development of more than 5 000 hectares of farmland over a five-year period in the Philippi and Cape Flats area” (Provincial Government of the Western Cape, 2006).

Abalimi Bezekhaya is an NGO with over 20 years of experience in supporting homestead growers and group gardens. It has focused on developing a comprehensive range of services to promote and ‘push’ small farmers to find their place in a production continuum encompassing survivalist, subsistence, livelihood and commercial scales and modes of production. Abalimi supplies small farmers with inputs and infrastructure, provides technical advice and institutional support, and recently introduced a planned production and marketing process known as the Harvest of Hope.

We examine what is involved in these different initiatives which aim to pull or push small growers into production and the market place. We profile the Philippi fresh produce market initiative and the services provided by Abalimi. We examine the three groups which Abalimi characterise as their most successful. In the process we assess what must be put in place to develop an enabling environment for a more vibrant and sustainable urban agriculture sector which enhances household food security and generates livelihood opportunities at different points along the value chain and identify lessons for improved policy and practice.