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Abstract

The South African Agricultural sector is dualistic nature, comprised of large scale commercial farmers (mostly white) on one hand and on the other smallholder farming mainly practiced by black rural households in the former homelands. The smallholder farming, however is not homogeneous. Mostly a distinction is made between subsistence orientated smallholders and fully commercial orientated smallholders. Lately a middle class of smallholders falling in between these two groups has been a subject of much academic study and a large concern of smallholder policies in the last two decades. However there is no consensus on the criteria of describing these emerging farmers-various authors use different methods without giving sufficient details of who these emerging farmers are. This could have adverse effects and can potentially jeopardize success of development initiatives intended for this group of farmers. This article seeks to contribute towards a common understanding of the term 'emerging farmer' hence the group of farmers it represents by identifying various measures used to describe these farmers and apply to a data set from a survey of 379 smallholders from the former homelands of the Eastern Cape. Finally, the paper suggest a criteria based on the argument of the identified measures. Key words: Emerging farmer, South Africa, Survey, Eastern Cape.

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