Socio-economic impact of land reform projects benefiting from the Recapitalisation and Development Programme in South Africa

Land reform is a key aspect of social and economic development in South Africa, both as a way of redressing past injustice and addressing the problem of poverty in the country, especially in rural areas. Empirical evidence, however, shows that a large number of land reform beneficiaries have not been able to meaningfully use their land due to inadequate nature of the post-settlement support provided. As a response to the challenges of unproductive land reform projects, the Recapitalisation and Development Programme (RECAP) was introduced in 2009. The objectives of this programme are “to increase production; to guarantee food security; to graduate small farmers into commercial farmers and create employment opportunities within the agricultural sector”. The purpose of this study was to assess the socio-economic impact of land reform projects benefiting from the Recapitalisation and Development Programme in South Africa. Assessment of a programme is important in determining how well the programme is meeting its intended objectives and is a fundamental requirement for improving efficiency and performance. The study used cross-sectional data collected in 2013 from a purposive and stratified sample of 98 projects in six of South Africa’s provinces. Descriptive statistics and a paired t-test were used to determine the impact of the programme on economic variables such as production, employment, and number of people benefiting from the projects. A logistic regression analysis was adopted to assess how the different interventions of RECAP vi (mentor/strategic partner, skills transfer and funding) improved the household food security of beneficiaries. The results indicated that the programme has made some progress towards improving the socio-economic status of land reform beneficiaries, particularly in terms of production, but much still needs to be done to ensure that the programme achieves its objectives. Positive changes were mostly experienced in terms of food security, employment generation, and economic and social status after RECAP was introduced, although the same cannot be said for skills transfer and market access. The paired t-test showed that the observed differences between the mean values of the socio-economic variables such as production, employment, number of beneficiaries were statistically significant, suggesting that RECAP has made some advancement towards achieving its intended objectives. The empirical evidence from this study indicates that the impact of RECAP on beneficiaries’ food security is significantly influenced by age of project managers, number of beneficiaries, farm size, funding and, most importantly, skills development. One of the core principles of RECAP, strategic intervention (having a strategic partner/mentor), was found not to be significant which may be attributed to the way the strategic partner/mentor is chosen for a project. To ensure effective skills transfer from strategic partners and mentors, the selection criteria for strategic partners and mentors need to be reviewed. More emphasis needs to be placed on job creation as a condition for receiving RECAP assistance on the part of beneficiaries. Diversification through small and medium agro-enterprises should be adopted to build resilient livelihoods and create non-farm employment opportunities for the poor.

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Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MSc. Agric (Agricultural Economics) in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa. Advisor: Professor Charles L. Machethe

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-23

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