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Public and private sector institutions in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa (SA) can identify policies and strategies to increase the survival and growth rates of small, medium and micro-enterprise (SMME) agribusinesses if they have more information about the factors that constrain business performance. The sustained growth of these SMMEs could, in turn, help to reduce poverty, income inequality and unemployment problems in the province. The owners of 44 agribusiness SMMEs in a stratified random sample of Ithala Development Finance Corporation clients in KZN were, therefore, surveyed during October 2003 and January 2004 to identify what factors they perceive constrain business survival and growth. The respondents identified eight dimensions of constraints, namely: a lack of access to services; funding constraints at start-up; lack of management capacity in the enterprise; access to tender contracts; compliance costs associated with VAT and labour legislation; liquidity stress; lack of collateral; and lack of institutional support. The provision of appropriate infrastructure and training, development of innovative loan products, and policies to reduce the cost of compliance with legislation affecting agribusiness SMMEs are some possible solutions to help deal with these constraints.


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