SUNConferences, Southern African Institute for Industrial Engineering 2014

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AN INVESTIGATION INTO WHETHER ORGANIC FARMING IS A MARKET ENTRY ENABLER FOR SMALL FARMERS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Megan Steytler, Teresa Hattingh

Last modified: 2014-06-26

Abstract


The objectives of this research were to identify system-wide factors that enable or constrain market entry for small organic farmers relative to conventional farmers and to identify the problems that  these farmers  face once they have gained market entry. Critical market access factors  were identified  through secondary research  and subsequently investigated within the context of a case study. Nine farmers from an  organic  farmer’s  cooperative  wereinterviewed,  the transcripts  organised thematically into the critical market access factorsand the results compared to secondary research. It was found that the organic sector is a better market opportunity for small farmers due toprice premiums,  market growth  and  reduced use of external inputs. However, the current organic enabling environment is not conducive to supporting small farmers during the organic conversion period in which there is high capital investment, a steep learning curve and an initial increase in production inputs. The main environmental deficiencies identified were extension and advisory services and reasonably priced and easily available production inputs. The lack of a national organic policy  is  the main  reason for this underdeveloped enabling environment.


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