Old Oranges in New Boxes? Strategic Partnerships between Emerging Farmers and Agribusinesses in South Africa

Verena Bitzer*, Jos Bijman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Partnerships have recently gained increasing popularity in the development community and are thought to play a key role in facilitating market access for smallholder farmers. This is particularly evident in South Africa, where strategic partnerships between emerging farmers and agribusinesses have become important instruments by which the government may promote the transition of 'emerging farmers' into independent commercial farmers able to participate in global markets. This article studies six partnerships in the South African citrus sector to analyse to what extent they enhance the 'commercialisation' of emerging farmers. An 'innovation system' perspective is applied to understand how far partnerships actually challenge and change the status of emerging farmers. Our results indicate that partnerships succeed in increasing market access. A closer look at the partnership processes, however, reveals the conditions under which success is achieved and that partnerships may be less instrumental in helping emerging farmers become independent entrepreneurs. Thus, a partnership model characterised by export orientation and knowledge transfer from agribusinesses to emerging farmers is limited in its transformative potential, calling for policy-makers to move beyond a pragmatic approach to partnerships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-183
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Southern African Studies
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
  • GLOBAL VALUE CHAINS
  • INNOVATION SYSTEMS
  • AGRICULTURAL-RESEARCH
  • PROCUREMENT PRACTICES
  • AGRARIAN-REFORM
  • WINE INDUSTRY
  • ARRANGEMENTS
  • TECHNOLOGY
  • GOVERNANCE

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