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Typology of smallholder farming in South Africa’s former homelands: towards an appropriate classification system

Considers the question of whether or not an expanded smallholder sector can significantly contribute to rural development, employment creation and poverty reduction in the former homeland areas of South Africa. In order to answer this question, the need arises for reliable data on smallholder farming, conceptual clarification on definitions of “smallholder” or “small-scale” farmers and diversity among farming systems needs to be taken into account. These considerations are crucial in order to design and implement effective rural development policies. One way of addressing this question is the use of farm typologies. Given the diversity that exists within agricultural systems, various schemes of classification have been developed and evolved over time. The objective of this study is to provide an empirical framework that would classify smallholder farmers in the former homeland areas of South Africa according to their livelihood strategies.