Space, markets and employment in agricultural development from Southern Africa

Project overview

Project lead: Andries du Toit, University of the Western Cape

Start date: 1 March 2012

End date: 31 August 2014

Project webpage

Research Council project page

Agricultural development can only lead to inclusive, sustainable growth if, in addition to productivity gains on the land, it supports non-farm employment. Recent debates indicate that conditions to support non-farm rural employment depend not only on growth in local aggregate demand, but also on the spatial and institutional configuration of the links between farm and non-farm employment, and between near and distant markets.

This project explored the spatial and institutional articulation of markets, human settlements and farm and non-farm livelihoods in marginalised and impoverished regions of Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe. A qualitative picture of the flow and distribution of money, resources, risk and opportunities in socio-economic networks, value chains and markets in rural districts was combined with a quantitative analysis of the livelihood outcomes for actors and role players in the network.

The research was undertaken by a consortium of researchers led by the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa.