WEBINAR DIALOGUE:

‍The contribution of redistributive land reform to employment creation

The webinar was hosted by the Capacity Building Programme for Employment Promotion (CBPEP) and funded by the European Union (EU). Professor Ben Cousins, founder of the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), joined other authors of the study in sharing their ground- breaking research findings on employment intensive land reform in South Africa, with a focus on small- scale farming.
What was said:
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It’s a topic which links to 3 key elements of the development and transformation agenda of the country. Unemployment, land reform and climate change

Bernard Rey, EU delegation to South Africa
How timely a contribution we think this is to public debate, particularly in the context of the current COVID-19 crisis and its impact on livelihoods and food security.

Glen Fisher, CBPEP
The challenge that remains for us is how we embed the important lessons that come out of work such as this and sustain them in the way government operates.

Lindiwe Ndlela, GTAC
This is the time to examine the underlying structures that lead to poverty, inequality, vulnerability and food insecurity - land reform has to be part of that solution.

Ben Cousins, PLAAS

“Successful land reform and rural development could dramatically improve the quality of life of the many rural residents who make up one-third of South Africa’s population, by boosting jobs, fostering economic opportunities, and opening up access to markets.”
Why land reform for employment creation?
RURAL RESIDENTS MAKE UP ONE-THIRD OF SA’S POPULATION
Successful land reform could dramatically boost jobs, foster opportunities, and open up access to markets.
One can create almost 24 000 full time equivalent net new jobs through land redistribution.

Professor Michael Aliber, University of Fort Hare
We have 15.5 million hectares of arguably idle or unproductive land in former homeland areas.

Ferdi Meyer, University of Pretoria
What is underlying employment creation through land reform? Reducing the size of farming units, changing the mix and scale of commodities produced and changing farming systems so that more employment is intensive.

Professor Michael Aliber, University of Fort Hare
“Employment-intensive land redistribution could form the central thrust of a renewed programme of agrarian reform and rural development, sowing the seeds for a brighter future for millions of South Africans in the world beyond the pandemic”
WHY THIS RESEARCH IS CRITICAL:
“A ground-breaking new study has raised the hope that small-scale farming can play a significant role in tackling the challenges of unemployment and food security.”
The more insights we can gain on the sector of smallholders and informal markets the better.

Professor Ferdi Meyer, University of Pretoria
20 years down the line we still don’t understand the profile of smallholder producers, they remain largely invisible to policy makers.

Rick De Satgé, Phuhlisani NPC
It’s not a one size fits all, you have these different flows and you need to understand the product flows for each sector and for each industry to have a balance.

Professor Ferdi Meyer, University of Pretoria
We have a policy making process that often emphasises generic one size fits all solutions. What the local municipality studies highlight so strongly - we have to disaggregate, we have to refine, we have to localise.

Rick De Satgé, Phuhlisani NPC
It’s very important to have a decentralised approach in terms of supporting the land reform process, to provide local information, to have a good understanding of the local markets, to have local support provided to farmers.

Bruno Losch, Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation
One of the key recommendations that comes out of this research is to get actors to break out of their culture of mandate protection. Local municipalities see they have a particular job, the department of agriculture sees it has a particular job, the department of rural development has seen it has a different job and so often these proceed down different tracks and then are not correlated with each other.

Rick De Satgé, Phuhlisani NPC
IMPROVING POLICY AND INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS
“The Covid-19 crisis has clearly demonstrated the vulnerability of the livelihoods of very large numbers of the SA population, and highlighted food insecurity as one key aspect,” says Prof Cousins.
LAND REFORM AND FOOD SECURITY IN THE TIME OF COVID-19
It’s very important to have a decentralised approach in terms of supporting the land reform process, to provide local information, to have a good understanding of the local markets, to have local support provided to farmers.

Bruno Losch, Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation
I think Stephen Greenbergs comments about what COVID-19 has revealed about the food systems and the visibility of informal markets and these linkages highlights the deep crisis we are in.

Rick De Satgé , Phuhlisani NPC
“Currently, up to 70% of food sales are dominated by the big four corporate supermarket retailers. For the vast majority of small-scale farmers, participation in the economy is limited to informal agricultural value chains and markets.”
We are clearly facing a situation in South Africa today where there is a need to relocalise the existing food system and when we speak about land reform, of course in practice it’s about a local level playing field.

Bruno Losch, Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation
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