Pro-poor value chain governance in the mtateni irrigation scheme at Tugela ferry, Msinga, KwaZulu-Natal
Buthelezi, Thokozile Cynthia
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This study explored value-chain governance in the Tugela Ferry Irrigation Scheme in KwaZulu-Natal, and presents data on input markets, vegetable production and output markets. Rural poverty is a major problem in post-apartheid South Africa, and smallholder agriculture has been identified by the Economic Development Department as a key component of its New Growth Path framework. Some scholars argue that since water is a scarce resource, irrigation farming should form a key focus of pro-poor land redistribution policy. The 1994 democratic dispensation saw the dismantling of the agricultural homeland parastatals which managed these schemes, causing them to collapse or near collapse. Yet they may have the potential to reduce rural poverty. While markets are key for viable production of fresh produce, some scholars assert that globally, input suppliers, food processors and supermarkets dominate the agro-food industry resulting in negative outcomes for smallholder producers. In South Africa, four major supermarkets (which together claim 55% of retail market share) were in the past located mainly in cities, but the trend now is that they are moving to small towns and townships. There are documented cases where pro-poor governance of fresh produce value chains has resulted in positive outcomes in South Africa. The re-governing markets concept which postulates that a multi-stakeholder approach to making the governance of agricultural value chains pro-poor, is offered as a solution to reducing poverty. This thesis argues that the incorporation of smallholder farmers into modern markets remains ineffective in dealing with poverty because it includes only a few smallholder farmers and those included face exclusion when they are exposed to harsh market conditions.