Analysis of the impact of training and capacity building by CASP on raising the income levels of emerging farmers in Limpopo Province
Thesis (MDF)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The South African government continues to provide post-settlement support to emerging farmers, with the objective of improving productivity through targeted funding or conditional grants. The Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP), which came into effect in 2004, provides funding targeted at supporting emerging farmers. CASP has six pillars, of which this study focused on one, which is capacity building and training. The study investigated the assessment of the impact of training on the projects’ beneficiaries who had benefited from the CASP pillar of training and capacity building in the Limpopo Province. The methodology applied was the difference-in-difference technique. Projects that benefited from funding were regarded as the treatment group and those that did not benefit from the programme were regarded as the control group. The justification for the research was that while the government had financed CASP through fiscal allocation since 2004, because CASP is a conditional grant, there was a need to review the programme, focusing on establishing whether the budget allocation had achieved its intended objectives during this time. The objectives of the study were to measure whether there had been an improvement in the beneficiaries’ income levels. It focused on the status of the projects prior to the beneficiaries receiving training and benefiting from capacity building, and what the status was after receiving training through the programme, with the key determinant being an increase in income levels. Not all funded projects had benefited from the particular pillar investigated here. The selection of the beneficiaries to be trained was based on a skills audit which treated the groups as homogeneous, which was found to be inappropriate because of the differences in the prior skills, education levels and the specific interests of individuals. The findings were that there was variation in the increase of income levels. There was a positive relationship between training and reported increase in income levels in some projects, and a negative relationship between training and income levels for other projects. It was interesting that income levels increased for projects that had benefited from the CASP pillar of training and capacity building when the projects were analysed as a group, but when projects were analysed individually, it was revealed that there was a marginal decrease in income levels. There should be a shift in policy. The focus on training and capacity building should be a priority and should occur prior to the projects receiving infrastructure support. The 10% of the total CASP budget allocated for training and capacity building needs to be reviewed, taking into account that low skills levels continue to be the main reason why projects are not sustainable. There is also a need to review the impact of training. The type of training offered should not be generic for all projects, it should be differentiated to suit the both the people and the commodities concerned and should be more biased towards entrepreneurship, as this would enable emerging farmers to grow their business units and realise increased income levels.