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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:White Farmers and Development in South Africa
Author:Schirmer, Stefan
Periodical:South African Historical Journal
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:economic behaviour
agricultural history
agricultural policy
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
History and Exploration
Economics and Trade
Abstract:If agricultural development in South Africa is to be promoted in the future it will be useful to know which characterisitics distinguished the economically successful white farmers from the more common strugglers. Focusing on the period c. 1700-1960s, this paper shows that there were frequent differences in the economic behaviour of large-scale farmers in relation to small-scale farmers. But farm sizes did not directly cause these differences. They can be explained instead by the willingness and the capacity of some large farmers to deal with the risks of investment and expanded production. Farmers without this capacity and willingness avoided risky investments and increased costs. A large proportion of such farmers came to occupy properties that were smaller than the norm. And even though the apartheid State attempted to help poorer whites, these attempts ran up against the problem of farmers who refused to let themselves be developed. Conservative responses to markets became so deeply entrenched that concerted government attempts to assist such farmers could bring about no meaningful transformation in their economic situation and the attempt was eventually abandoned. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]