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Mandela Initiative action dialogues on agriculture, poverty and inequality

In collaboration with the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), University of the Western Cape


The South African rural economy and the potential of small-scale, communal and commercial agriculture, respectively, to address poverty and inequality have been the focus of several action dialogues in collaboration with UWC’s PLAAS.

The first, in 2014, on “Opportunities, constraints and innovative approaches in small-scale agriculture in South Africa” created an opportunity for small-scale agricultural practitioners to share with policy-makers their experiences about what works, and why it works, with the aim to assist policy-makers in identifying a wider set of conditions in which the experiences of these practitioners could multiply across the country.

In 2015, the action dialogue on “Communal area agriculture and rural development” brought together experienced practitioners, academics and rural strategists to explore ways of enhancing rural small-farm and homestead production systems in communal areas.

Drawing on the insights from these two events, a 2016 action dialogue conference, “Rethinking agriculture”, focused on the South African rural economy with particular attention to job creation in the rural areas; the nature (and heterogeneity) of small-holder agriculture in the country; and continuity and change in commercial agriculture over two decades.