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Official data show that a small proportion of Eastern Cape households evidently derive their main or primary income from farming. But the same data also show that the majority of households with access to small plots suitable for farming are concentrated in Eastern Cape. Furthermore, comparative analyses of standard indicators of human wellbeing and development of Eastern Cape with the rest of South Africa show that the province consistently reports worse than national average rates of poverty, food insecurity, unemployment and inequality- reaching extreme levels in rural locations. Over the medium term, higher economic growth and service-oriented sectoral change, might be inadequate to reverse this dismal track record in human well-being. In this context, this paper considers the potential of better targeted public spending on agricultural development for resource-poor small farmers to raise living standards in the Eastern Cape. According to the latest official evidence, slightly more than half a million households in Eastern Cape (representing roughly 40% of all South African households) reported that they have access to farmland- with average land size in the order of 1-1.25 ha per farmily. Interventions aimed at boosting agricultural productivity among these small producers, such as the CASP launched in 2004/05, must be better targeted to meet the needs of the intended beneficiaries.


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