Theme: “Durban, A city in transformation: Towards an Effective, Inclusive and Sustainable Socio-Economic Outcome.”

Xolani Mkhize and Melusi Sibandaa
Agriculture as a veritable tool for rural development in developing countries nowadays is widely known by its vital role in rural development. Rural development have been associated with agriculture for a number of years, whereby agriculture continues to be a predominant economic activity that is found in rural areas and hence contributing to rural development through job creation, food security, ecological services, poverty alleviation, and consequently enhancing rural social life.
• A significant percentage of South Africa’s population lives in rural areas.
• A greater proportion of this group is poor.
• Agriculture and rural development is a strategic priority of the government of South Africa’s plan of action.
Agriculture is becoming complex to rural people particularly for smallholder farmers while agriculture is viewed as an important sector for rural development. The study is therefore relevant to the rural eThekwini Municipality:
• To identify the various constraints faced by smallholder farmers of eThekwini Municipality rural citizens that is limiting rural development for their very survival. All agricultural problems that are found in rural communities need to be resolved for furtherance of rural development of eThekwini Municipality and South Africa in general.
• Agriculture provides many services and remains the predominant activity in rural areas. The study will therefore formulate recommendations to re-vitalise and create a vibrant, sustainable and equitable rural community through agriculture and enhance the rural development of the eThekwini Municipality.
The necessity to support smallholder farming by governments in developing countries has taken centre stage globally. Nowadays agriculture is widely known by its vital role in rural development. Rural development has been associated with agriculture for a number of years. The majority of the poor in rural communities is employed by this sector especially in developing countries and it is a primary industry in rural areas. However rural people are constrained by their circumstances to exercise subsistence farming for their very survival. The aim of this study was to understand the context of smallholder farming and the role played by agriculture in rural development in the study area with specific objective; 1) to understand the role played by agriculture in the study area, to identify the factors that affect the development of agriculture and 3) to make policy recommendations on smallholder farming constraints to agriculture and rural development. The study was conducted in Qiniselani Manyuswa, a village that was purposively selected from the eThekwini Municipality based on its agricultural potential. The study employed a cross-sectional research design due to it descriptive nature. Data was collected from a sample of 33 smallholder farmers (both crop and livestock farmers) by means of a probabilistic random sampling procedure. A structured questionnaire was used to facilitate the data collection process. Questionnaires were both pre-coded and post-coded, and translated into the local IsiZulu language for respondents who cannot read nor write. After data collection, data was organized and captured and coded in the form of spreadsheets into Microsoft excel and imported to Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS) soft wares for analysis. Descriptive analysis was applied; here frequency distributions, percentages, means and standard deviations were used. Results portray that agriculture is increasingly becoming a complex sector to rural communities and to rural development in the study areas. This is largely attributed to institutional dynamics related to socio-economic conditions of the smallholder farmers. The study reveals that most of the smallholder farmers in rural areas are infested with many challenges that include lack of interest in farming by young people; lack of basic knowledge and information in agriculture; limited access to land; poor infrastructure, low technological adaptation; lack of agricultural skills, especially agribusiness and technological skills and lack of access to credit and formal markets. The context in which smallholder farmers operate – faced with both production and marketing challenges gives rise to low performance of agriculture in the study areas and hence lead to a decline in the role of agriculture to rural development. However, despite the challenges faced by smallholder farmers in the study areas, the majorities agreed that agriculture still plays a critical role in their livelihoods for example the contribution to food availability. Because smallholder farmers are faced with many constraints, it is imperative to understand the factors affecting the performance of agriculture in smallholder farming. In order to promote the contribution of agriculture to rural development, smallholder farmers should be empowered to improve their agricultural potential and produce on a sustainable basis. Institutional policies associated with smallholder farming should be developed guided by data (research) and implemented effectively in order to benefit smallholder farmers and thus empowering rural areas. Smallholder farmers need training in financial management skills such as marketing and record keeping. The establishment of agricultural centres in rural communities is encouraged to enhance and motivate more especially the youth to partake in agriculture and thus contribute to rural development. Comprehensive agriculture support programmes together with effective of agricultural extension services can help the development of agriculture and its contribution to rural development. Collective action (cooperatives) can play also play a crucial role in agriculture and rural development of smallholder farmers.
Dr Michael Leech
Urban Agriculture is defined by Mougeot (2003) as “an industry located within (intra-urban) or on the fringe (peri-urban) of a town, a city or a metropolis, which grows or raises processes and distributes a diversity of food and non-food products, (re-using) largely human and material resources, products and services found in and around the urban area, and in turn supplying human and material resources products and services largely to that urban area”.
The South African National Constitution, Bill of Rights states in section 27 (b) that everyone has the right to sufficient food and water and if they are not able to support themselves and their dependents appropriate social assistance MUST BE PROVIDED.
  • EThekwini has complied with the Bill of Rights.
  • Compliance with environmental and other legislation was found to be lacking.
  • Co-operation between the departments with related functions was found to be lacking to the detriment of the food insecure.


  • Shortfalls discovered can be over-come and rectified.
  • A formation of a Food Council with representatives from the food insecure and the departments to deal with the role out which is best practice can be set up.
This resulted in research being done to determine a” Strategy for a viable, sustainable urban agriculture in a dynamic urbanising Society” in the eThekwini area.
The results showed that :-
  • There was conflict between who was to provide this urban agriculture service, National, Provincial, Local Government. Even the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security is mixed up. The gardeners interviewed want the municipality to provide this service.
  • Clashes between provincial and municipal officials on who’s responsibility for agriculture in the urban environment and the high chemical versus organic approach requires to be resolved.
  • Initially the Town Planning Regulations did not permit urban agriculture within a built environment subsequently this has been changed at Provincial level.
  • Compliance with legislation especially the environmental and water regulations was non-existent.
  •  Departmental co-operation is non-existent when in actual fact they should be co-operation as they are all dealing with specific aspects of the legal requirement for food security. Testing of soil and water as well as food produced – best practice and a legal requirement was not being done and as this food was by-passing the Market could be where some of the health problems come from. Where a Food Council made up of officials, Councillors, gardeners could ensure everything works smoothly.
  • Support for the concept of urban agriculture was 66.7% from environmental health practitioners while in the case of town planners it was 88.2%. Concern was the fact that some of the officials did not even know of the existence of these gardens within their areas of jurisdiction.
  • Retention of water for gardening purposes results showed a low support from officials but a high support from gardeners. Here also the question of sustainability of the engineered high volume water use with impact sprinklers against drip irrigation was never resolved.
  • The question of the use of organic material for composting which is a major requirement required support from officials and sites to make it on received a 63% support from EHP’s and a 47 % from Town Planners.
  • Long term leasing of properties and the question of using Public Open Space for food gardening as a recreational pursuit also highlighted issues that needed to be resolved.
Further research needs to be done to deal with these grey areas to ensure compliance, sustainable practices and good food being produced. As well as the formation of a Food Council made up to ensure efficiency, co-operation and a functional food security plan.
The recent years have seen a shift in consumer demand towards products that are sustainably raised. Literature indicates a growing trend in demand for sustainably raised meat products in developing countries; and this demand is proportional with urbanization and income. The shift in consumer demand provides a platform upon which cities can develop inclusive, effective and sustainable niche markets which can support both the rural and urban communities.
  • Consumers’ perceptions about organic produce, in particular organic beef.
  • Consumers’ awareness of organic food
  • Factors determining consumers’ purchasing intentions for organic beef
  • Opportunities for the establishment of an organic beef niche market in Durban.
  • Development of an Effective, Inclusive and Sustainable Socio-Economic marketing strategy for sustainably raised organic products
  •  Sensitize the city population about the importance of organic food.
The future of organic beef production in South Africa is dependent upon consumer demand, hence understanding the perceptions influencing the purchasing intentions of organic beef rather than conventional beef is essential. The objectives of the study were to assess the consumer awareness of organic food products and to determine factors influencing consumers’ perceptions towards the purchasing intentions of organic beef. Principal Components Analysis (varimax rotation), was employed to identify the latent factors that condenses the motivations most likely to influence consumers to purchase organic beef. The majority of the surveyed consumers were from Pietermaritzburg and Durban. Consumers perceive self-grown food without using chemicals as ‘organic,’ hence associate it with health and safety. Sixty percent of the consumers had prior experiences in purchasing and consuming organic food. Consumer perceptions about purchasing organic beef were influenced by safety control, health and environment. Safety control was the most important factor with 25.1 percent of the variations that determined consumer’s decision to purchase organic beef. It is concluded that there is a need to strengthen urban agricultural interventions and to support the marketing of sustainably grown produce, particularly in urban areas where the demand for sustainably raised products is greatest.