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Abstract

The world-wide trend of a growing organic sector is also detectable in South Africa. From 2000 to 2002 the number of farmers who had converted to organic farming in South Africa increased sixfold, and although organic farming still accounts only for a minute percentage of the total number agricultural producers, the increasing importance of this sector is apparent. Based on survey results, information was gathered about organic farmers in South Africa concerning socio-demographic aspects, farming operations, motivations and problems of the conversion process. These results were analysed in the context of possibilities to support the organic farming movement theoretically and practically. With respect to the findings it is recommended that the conversion to organic farming should be supported, not necessarily via direct financial support to the organic farmers, but by means of different instruments such as the development of an improved infrastructure for marketing, networking and information exchange. Several areas for future research are identified to increase our understanding of organic farming in the South African context.

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