Successful integration of upcoming farmers in the commercial farming sector : a focus on the Western Cape
Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In South Africa, land reform and the development of upcoming farmers are part of the country’s transformation objectives. The development of upcoming farmers into commercial farmers therefore requires the growth of sustainable agri-businesses. Unfortunately, limited success has been achieved in terms of land reform and the country is far from its set targets. This study examined the factors that gave current successful, upcoming commercial farmers the advantage to grow their businesses up to a certain level. Data was collected through interviews with farmers, mentors, transformation managers and governing bodies such as Agri-West Cape. Interviews on the farms gave the researcher the opportunity to observe underlying factors that can influence their businesses. The objective of the study was to determine the critical success factors that relate to the success of upcoming commercial farmers in the Western Cape. The results identified a number of success factors, some of which were unexpected and in contrast with some of the literature sources. All the cases covered in this study – i.e. successful, upcoming commercial farmers in the Western Cape – used different business models and emphasised the importance of proper management. They also used their detailed business plans as a handbook for successful farming, and acknowledged the important role of mentors. Only a mentor-farmer relationship based on trust and respect worked in the end. The mentors took on coaching roles that were not limited to farming activities but included an equally important people development component. A sustainable market was identified as one of the critical success factors for successful upcoming commercial farmers. One of the biggest hurdles for upcoming farmers was financial management. Hence, they required dedicated financial management to be sustainable. One of the main outcomes of the study was the importance of the personal profile of the farmers and their understanding of the opportunity. Focusing on short-term financial gains resulted in failure. All the farmers in the case studies displayed a deep understanding of the long-term goal of their businesses and their role in that. Transformation, land reform and building an equal society in South Africa are burning points for the nation. The success of upcoming farmers helps to build confidence that the hard work is paying off.