Contract farming model of financing smallholder farmers in South Africa : the case of the IDC-Kat River citrus development scheme
Thesis (MDF)--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.
The constraints that impede the growth of smallholder farmers have been attributed to lack of access to markets and technical expertise. This has led to mainstream banks classifying smallholder farmers as high risk and therefore unwilling to finance smallholder farmers. Contract farming has developed as a model that may be able to link smallholder farmers with agribusinesses who have the expertise and have built marketing channels that can be utilised by the smallholder farmers. Despite its potential to bring smallholder farmers into the mainstream agriculture industry, literature on contract farming has indicated that contract farming can be skewed in favour of the agribusiness due to their superior bargaining power and information asymmetry in favour of the agribusiness. This study examines the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)’s Kat River Development Scheme to finance nine farmers through a contract farming arrangement with Riverside (Pty) Ltd. More particularly, the study examines how this financing model contributes to improved access to finance, markets and technical expertise for the farmers. It also examines how the arrangement contributes to reducing the risk of financing smallholder farmers for IDC. The empirical analysis indicates that, despite the fact that the farmers are able to obtain access to finance, market and technical expertise, the ability for the scheme to meet its objectives in the long term is dependent on improving transparency between the agribusiness and the farmers, providing appropriate incentives for the farmers to apply the required effort and the farmers buying into the long term strategic aim (or “big picture”) of the scheme.