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It is indeed a privilege and an honour to deliver the FR Tomlinson Commemorative lecture this year. Although the invitation was quite unexpected, it is of course highly appreciated. When Prof Johann Kirsten phoned me with the request, I was initially not sure what topic I should address. The topic, which I have now formulated, is one which has fascinated me and certainly kept me busy for the most part of my career. I want to share with you some thoughts and perspectives, but will steer away from a laborious review or an abstract analysis. In doing so, I trust that this is appropriate within the spirit of the occasion, which is now a well established tradition in the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA). Let me start with a quotation which is at the core of the theme I want to unfold in this lecture. Our most important resource is not land, nor capital and even less the climate. Our most important resource is not the gold under the earth's crust, or the oil that might be there. Our most important resource is our human material. We must develop our human material and make full use of it. (Groenewald JA, 1973a)


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