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Critical factors affecting the success of emerging farmers in South Africa

Title: Critical factors affecting the success of emerging farmers in South Africa

First author: Thabang Ramogodi

iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8245-2566

PhD candidate, North-West University, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Potchefstroom Campus.

BSc Plant pathology (UP), BSc (Hons) Plant pathology (UP), MSc Quality Management (UK)

Co-author: Professor Anna-Marie (AMF) Pelser

iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8401-3893

Research Professor, North-West University, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences- Entity Director – GIFT, Mafikeng Campus.

HED (Home Economics, PU for CHE), B Com (UNISA), B Com Hons (PU for CHE), M Com (Industrial Psychology, NWU), PhD (Education Management, NWU)

Corresponding author: Professor A.M.F. Pelser: e-mail: anna.pelser@nwu.ac.za or ampelser@hotmail.com

Ensovoort, volume 41 (2020), number 10: 3

Abstract

As an inseparable part of African culture and the African continent, agriculture, and in particular emerging agriculture, will play a crucial role in the future of the South African economy. This paper provides an in-depth analysis of the crucial factors that affect the success of emerging South African farmers. Farming sounds like a fascinating option with massive financial benefits. However, it is not always a fruitful venture. The typical African grows up with the ground under his feet and the sun on his forehead. The African man is “a man of the soil”, and farming is an inextricable part of what it means to be African. Yet few emerging farmers are prosperous. Emerging farmer challenges should be addressed sooner rather than later. South African agriculture is a dualistic concept. Emerging farmers are involved in both small-scale as well as established commercial farming. Commercial farmers’ survival is assured, but subsistence farmers find themselves at the bottom of the food chain. Most emerging farmers struggle to succeed as commercial farmers. Emerging agriculture is a complicated business fraught with multiple challenges. Potential solutions should be evaluated and presented in an integrated manner. Precise programmes and solutions are needed for emerging farmers. Researchers attribute this trend to a variety of challenges, including land access, infrastructure availability, resources such as water and rain, market access, lack of funding for agriculture, and poor resource support from the government which impedes growth and mechanisation. These emerging farmers sometimes lack knowledge about agricultural practices and technological disadvantages. Research and development, extension services, and, above all, a proper framework for the quality of produced products, is often missing. The biggest challenge facing emerging farmers in South Africa is the inability to convert from subsistence farming to commercial farming. However, this challenge can be overcome with effort and dedication on the part of emerging farmers and good governance from the government. This paper looks across several literature streams at the development of new relationships among the many stakeholders affecting the success of emerging farmers in achieving conceptual integration. This will build a new holistic perspective which is widely applicable.

Keywords: emerging farmers, critical factors, socio-economic challenges, financial challenges, quality management, integration theory

1. Introduction

Agriculture is crucial for the future of the South African economy, especially emerging agriculture. Nonetheless, for several reasons, most emerging farmers do not succeed and rarely advance to become successful commercial farmers. Emerging farming is an intricate business and is associated with a basket of challenges. The approaches suggested for solving their problems should be analysed and viewed in an integrated manner.

Emerging farmers in South Africa have been increasingly unsuccessful for many years now. Several research studies have looked at the factors affecting the success of emerging farmers (Sebola, 2018:2). Researchers have attributed this trend to a variety of factors, such as a lack of funding for agriculture, inadequate government support in terms of resources (impacting growth and mechanisation), a lack of research and development, a lack of extension services and weak infrastructure, and many more (Khapayi & Celliers, 2016:25; Sebola, 2018:2). Most emerging farmers have endeavoured to be commercial farmers (Khapayi & Celliers, 2016:26), however, Manenzhe et al., (2016:426) and Sebola (2018:1) maintain that emerging farmers rarely become commercial farmers.

Thus, the biggest challenge facing emerging farmers in South Africa is the inability to change from being subsistence farmers to being commercial farmers (Khapayi & Celliers, 2016:25). This is due to that lack of an integrated view of the factors affecting the success of emerging farmers. As a result, research studies look at the problems of emerging farmers in becoming commercial farmers in an integrated way so as to propose solutions that are fit for purpose. Integration can be achieved using the conceptual integration theory, which asserts that different ideas can be combined in a network of mental spaces to create new meaning.

2. Background

The importance of agriculture in South Africa cannot be overemphasised. Agriculture feeds thousands of people and is a significant contributor to jobs in South Africa. Agriculture is also vital for economic growth and food security in the country. The agricultural sector absorbs approximately 5.2% of the country’s workforce, which is 1.8% lower than the figure reported in 2011 (Mabaya, 2011:11 and Lotriet et al., 2017:456). The workforce consists mostly of unskilled and semi-qualified workers with a low level of education. Primary agriculture is directly responsible for 3% of GDP, and the sector as a whole contributes up to 12% (Mabaya, 2011:11 and Lotriet et al., 2017:456).

Agricultural activity in South Africa is composed of emerging as well as commercially developed farmers, who are also referred to as commercial farmers. Although emerging farmers are critical for job creation, food security and economic growth, they are responsible for only about 5% of the total agricultural output that is marketed. In general, South Africa is estimated to have around 1.3 to 3 million emerging farmers, who are mainly located in the former homelands and tribal areas (Lotriet et al., 2017:457). Moreover, Sebola (2018:2) states that there are around 2.5 million households engaged in primary agriculture, which is a reliable indicator of South African agricultural growth. Nevertheless, only about 200 000 emerging farmers are commercially orientated (Sebola, 2018:2). The lower number of emerging farmers who are commercially orientated is a worrying factor if South Africa is to be successful in growing the economy and jobs and achieving food security. They are calling on government and other policymakers to exert more effort in ensuring that more emerging farmers are guided and supported on their journey to becoming commercial farmers.

A clear definition of emerging farmers is crucial for policymakers and other related parties (financing institutions, researchers and training providers) to develop specific programmes and solutions targeted at emerging farmers (Mabaya, 2011:3). The definition of emerging farmers often comes with great ambiguity in the context of South Africa.

Emerging farmers can be defined using a categorisation model developed by the South African Land Bank that puts the farmers on a scale from subsistence, micro-scale, small-scale, and emerging, to established commercial farmers. Some emerging farmers are involved in small-scale farming and the others are involved in established commercial farming. The dualistic South African agriculture is characterised by developed upper-end commercial farmers and lower-end subsistence farmers (Mabaya, 2011:3). Emerging farmers can also be described as farmers who strive for a successful harvest under physical, mental and socio-economic constraints and who need help from an external facilitator to achieve this target (Gelderblom, 2003:1). Farmers who wish to participate in formal markers but have restricted access due to various difficulties but want to sell more of their goods and are previously disadvantaged can also be referred to as emerging farmers (Senyolo, 2007:3).

This study focuses primarily on grain-focused emerging farmers. The South African grain industry plays an essential role in the agricultural value chain and accounts for 25-33% of the total agricultural output gross value. The South African “grain industry” consists of grains such as maize, wheat, sorghum, barley, and oilseeds, including sunflower, soybean, canola, and groundnuts. Maize is South Africa’s most important grain crop because it is a staple food for many people and also a significant feed grain (Lotriet et al., 2017:456). In this study, all the different grain types will be referred to as grains. Emerging grain farmers have the same problems as other emerging farmers. They seldom succeed as profitable and sustainable commercial farmers.

3. Problem statement

It is clear from the preceding discussion that a deeper understanding of the factors affecting the success of emerging grain farmers is needed. This is crucial because much of the research about factors influencing emerging farmers’ success is internally incoherent, unduly fragmented, and does not look at the problems as a more coherent whole. While many authors have studied factors that affect the success of emerging farmers, socio-economic (Kekana & Maponya, 2017; Khapayi & Celliers, 2016:25; Maponya et al., 2018), financial (Sebola, 2018:1-7) or technical (Maponya et al., 2018:421) factors are usually researched in a fragmented manner. The gaps created by the incoherence makes it difficult for authorities to establish policies that deal comprehensively with issues that affect the success of emerging farmers. Therefore, the study aims to answer the questions, What are the critical factors affecting the success of emerging farmers? and How can those factors be presented in a more coherent, integrated manner?

This study, therefore, aims to investigate the critical factors influencing the success of emerging South African farmers in detail. It focuses on establishing new relationships among the numerous factors that affect the success of emerging farmers, and conceptual integration across several streams of literature. It will establish a new integrated, generally applicable view. The study examines the factors affecting emerging farmers in-depth, to bring these factors together and present an alternative and integrated view.

The objectives of this article are to investigate the factors affecting the success of emerging farmers, determine the best practices for mitigating those factors, and recommend an integrated view of those factors.

4. Methodology

How a research study is conducted depends to a large extent on the research methods used and the research tools employed to achieve the objectives of the study. This conceptual paper used secondary data only which consisted of journals, books, and theses, leveraging secondary data analysis to answer the research question posed by the paper. This article serves as the predecessor of the empirical enquiry.

5. Conceptual framework

This section presents the conceptual framework of the article. The article studied the factors that affect the success of emerging farmers, which is referred to as the emerging farming problem and is a conceptual framework that looks at what deters subsistence farmers from becoming commercial farmers (Fig. 1). The possible solutions are investigated using secondary research. An integrated view is presented later in the study for the purpose of understanding those factors.

Figure 1: The conceptual framework

6. Critical factors affecting the success of emerging farmers

6.1 Access to land

Access to viable and adequate land is crucial to emerging farmers’ survival because a small farm lacks economies of scale (Wilk et al., 2013:281). In support, Khapayi & Celliers (2016:39) argues that a lack of emerging farmer access to productive land is one of the critical influences of the participation of emerging farmers in agricultural markets. Commercial farmers often have tracts of land that are less impacted by climate change problems in different areas. Big farms produce more income and can be used as collateral for banks to access financing (Wilk et al., 2013:281).

Agriculture, and particularly in the form of emerging farmers, is a vital driver of the economy, but access to capital, land and markets have often been cited as barriers to entry. Emerging farming is not just a business but a multi-generational investment that will benefit generations to come if done well. The allocation or re-allocation of land for farming, mainly to the previously disadvantaged, will go a long way in reducing poverty and unemployment. As a result, the government needs to speed up land reform aimed at emerging farmers to give them farms or increase their farmland, so that they can be used as collateral for finance from banks. Initiatives such as the Agriculture Development Agency (AGDA), a new government-backed private-sector initiative aimed at supporting the agricultural economy among emerging farmers, will also go a long way towards alleviating this problem. AGDA’s primary goals include to foster greater social justice through the development of enablers that will help drive sustainable land reform programmes and lead to shifting patterns of land ownership in South Africa.

6.2 Infrastructure

Agriculture, especially farming, relies heavily on infrastructure availability. Research shows that government infrastructure provision has been on a sharp decline over the last few decades. For example, conservation work subsidies have dropped from R6.4 billion per annum in the 1980s to about R176 million in the 2000s (Black et al., 2014:3). Furthermore, Black et al. (2014:3) argues that programmes such as the Community-based Public Works Program (CWP), the Poverty Relief and Infrastructure Investment Fund, and the Consolidated Municipal Infrastructure Programme showed no positive effects. Irrigation schemes have also not been maintained in recent years (Black et al., 2014:3). Road shortages, poor road infrastructure and lack of transport services are among the reasons why emerging farmers are struggling. These deter access to rewarding markets (Senyolo et al., 2009:208).

Infrastructure such as farming facilities, roads, and communication lines need to be improved, as they restrict the development of emerging farmers (Khapayi & Celliers, 2016:38). Also, resources such as road infrastructure and transport systems need to be improved to allow emerging farmers to participate in high-remuneration markets (Senyolo et al., 2009:208). Likewise, government policy should address access to services for emerging farmers to stimulate agricultural growth (Chaminuka et al., 2008:365). This fight to improve the plight of emerging farmers cannot rest with the government only. Big corporations, particularly those involved in agriculture, must also play a role in the development and maintenance of infrastructure. Grain storage companies, for instance, have their silo infrastructure located in farming areas where roads are in poor conditions. They should assist by building and maintaining roads for the farming community so that emerging farmers can deliver grains to their silos.

6.3 Water resources

Water access remains one of the significant resources that hinder the success of emerging farmers. This lack of water access can be attributed to an uncoordinated institutional mechanism for helping emerging farmers, resulting in them not engaging in the formulation of strategies and policies (Ncube, 2018:89-96). As a result of this lack of access to adequate and reliable water sources, emerging farmers have nothing or less to send to the markets. Production has ceased or they have produced less (Kekana & Maponya, 2017:136).

Improved collaboration between institutions and policymakers and better relationships between emerging farmers and institutions are needed to reduce resource scarcity (Ncube, 2018:89). Policymakers should also put more effort into accurately identifying factors that hinder emerging farmers’ progress and direct more resources towards addressing this problem (Kekana & Maponya, 2017:136). Government needs to provide emerging farmers with water through water allocation reform and catchment management agencies. However, before providing the catchments, the policymakers need to first understand emerging farmer characteristics in terms of resource endowment, land ownership and size, and farming goals, among other things. Policymakers must appreciate that there is no “one size fits all” policy that can solve emerging farmer problems. Such a policy may worsen the underperformance. Providing water before the characteristics of emerging farmers are understood might therefore lead to this scarce resource being wasted.

6.4 Access to markets

Markets play a vital role in maximising the income of emerging farmers. South African markets are, however, unpredictable, poorly structured, and not easily accessible to emerging farmers (Senyolo et al., 2009:212). One of the stumbling blocks to emerging farmers’ success is the inability to consistently supply good quality produce. It hinders their chances of accessing the markets. This is also perpetuated by the lack of information that emerging farmers need to negotiate reasonable market prices, as well as small operations (Jordaan & Grove, 2013:508; Senyolo et al., 2009:212). Access to market knowledge, quality of transport, and the type of roads that lead to markets have a significant influence on emerging farmer market participation (Kekana & Maponya, 2017:130; Maponya et al., 2018:421).

The lack of access to markets by those involved in small-scale farming activities can be resolved through concerted action and the unique establishment of agricultural cooperatives. However, for these cooperatives to be successful, the role of social capital in the form of trust, social networks and shared norms in driving performance and the transfer of farmer-to-farmer skills cannot be overlooked (Jordaan & Grove, 2013:508). Cooperatives are a step in the right direction in resolving production problems related to the guarantee of product quality and increased market access. However, these cooperatives do need to address critical issues such as strategy, overall management support, and the marketing needed for emerging farmer success (Bitzer & Bijman, 2014:167-183). In order for these cooperatives to work successfully, they should consist of various farmers with different sets of skills and of varying sizes. These cooperatives should have strong training skills in dealing with diseases and pests, and damage caused by erratic weather. They should also be able to transfer entrepreneurial skills and financial education.

6.5 Government support

Government is not fully exercising its role in providing funding, extension services, and research and development to emerging farmers. Many contend that if the government provides adequate support to emerging farmers, they are likely to succeed in becoming commercial farmers and contribute positively to the agricultural economy in South Africa (Sebola, 2018:2). Government support through extension officer services has been abysmal to almost non-existent (Wilk et al., 2013:281) and (Kekana & Maponya, 2017:136). Poor support services by the government’s extension officers contribute to the failures of emerging farmers (Khapayi & Celliers, 2016:37).

Extension officers can play an essential role in helping the government support emerging farmers. These ground forces are assigned by the government to pass on expertise and train emerging farmers for success. Therefore, capacity creation in terms of having enough capable extension officers is imperative. Nevertheless, extension officers need to provide a clear understanding of the challenges faced by developing farmers in order for this support service to be carried out with precision. They should also be skilled in technology, politics, corporate affairs, mentoring, and monitoring and evaluation. The government also needs to focus on developing experts in particular fields such as forestry, marketing, and management to better support the land reform programmes.

6.6 Education and knowledge

Some level of education and awareness regarding new farming techniques, pesticides, farming methods, machinery, breeding, crop varieties, environment, and basic business management is essential for any farmer’s survival. Regrettably, emerging farmers are mostly deprived of such information because they rely exclusively on extension officers (Kekana & Maponya, 2017:136; Wilk et al., 2013:281). Farming is also a business, and some knowledge and skills in banking, record keeping, labour management and methods of agricultural production are essential (Khapayi & Celliers, 2016:38). The training of emerging farmers is, therefore, key to their success (Manenzhe et al., 2016:36).

Training emerging farmers is vital to their success (Manenzhe et al., 2016:36). The government should play a leading role in training and developing emerging farmers, while also understanding that being uneducated does not necessarily mean that one will not be successful in farming (Khapayi & Celliers, 2016:39). Training should focus not only on technological competence but also on business competence, including the development of marketing strategies for accessing and protecting the channels of markets. Furthermore, better access to knowledgeable advisors and training is needed to improve communication across and within emerging farming communities through knowledge sharing forums. Extension officers, training providers, big successful commercial farmers, farming experts, and other relevant stakeholders can also play a significant role in training and education. Besides passing knowledge on to emerging farmers, they can encourage the formation of forums where they consistently also participate with the aim of sharing knowledge. Monthly forum meetings can be arranged where different topics, including the factors affecting emerging farmers, business management, entrepreneurship, and technical issues can be discussed. However, public-private partnerships will be necessary for the facilitation and funding of such informative forums.

6.7 Agricultural practices

Their chosen agricultural practice will affect emerging farmers’ production and profitability, as well as the quality of the produce. Emerging farmers will, in most cases, choose between the two most popular agricultural practices, namely conservation and conventional. Conventional farming involves a system of tillage practices, such as soil disturbance and ploughing, resulting in a fine seedbed and the removal of crop residues from the previous season (Shahzad et al., 2017:24634). Alternatively, conservation farming is defined as a resource-saving proposition that can improve the soil’s biological, physical and chemical properties through permanent soil cover preservation, marginal soil disturbance, and varied crop rotation (Eskandari et al., 2016:93). While there is another farming method called organic farming, it is not appropriate for emerging farmers. It requires different skills, more land to grow the same number of tons, and high nitrogen requirements requiring careful soil fertility management. Knowledge of different farming practices is therefore essential for emerging farmers to be able to choose the best practices according to their needs.

Since emerging farmers have limited resources, conservation agriculture is a better option for them. Conservation agriculture makes crop production less vulnerable to severe weather conditions, especially drought and climate change, and is conducive to producing quality (Satterfield et al., 2018:453). Agricultural conservation practices, particularly non-till practices, also reduces soil erosion and runoff, and results in improved soil organic matter (SOM) content, improved soil physical properties and improved soil water retention (Sithole & Magwaza, 2019:1-2). While an increase in conservation farming could mitigate climate change and ensure greater resilience for farming businesses with the potential for higher yields, this method of production still has hurdles to tackle. Emerging farmers should be capacitated with knowledge of conservation agriculture. The government should develop and promote pro-conservation agriculture and cover the cost of new machinery and change.

6.8 Technological advancement

Today, agriculture is proud of technological advances, such as the use of GPS, cloud-based sensors (Jaiganesh et al., 2017:256) and precision farming technology (D’Antoni et al., 2012:121). GPS and sensors allow data analysis and sharing, while information technology (IT) and agricultural clouds provide farmers with specialised expertise, including advice on crop planting, the application of fertilisers, pricing, plant diseases, scientific research findings, weather patterns, guidance on conventional planting techniques, and more (Balamurugan et al., 2016:713). However, due to lack of knowledge and financial resources, emerging farmers have not fully embraced these technologies (Jaiganesh et al., 2017:256).

Innovations such as genetically modified ( GM ) crops have made great strides in recent years and can readily be embraced by emerging farmers (Gouse et al., 2016:27). GM crops have benefits such as high yields, insect control, labour savings, taste, quality and ease of farming, (Gouse et al., 2016:27-38). Farmers are also shielded from extreme losses in yield due to high temperatures caused by climate change (Tesfaye et al., 2017:959). Technological applications (apps) such as the award-winning “Khula” software, can also help solve some emerging farmer problems. This app connects emerging farmers to the formal marketplace by combining their crops through the platform to meet the requirements to supply their products on a larger scale. Emerging farmers can list their goods and monitor the level of inventories in real-time. They can also do simple production forecasts. The app also includes a marketplace for crowd-sourcing, where farmers can meet market demand and incoming orders. The app is already connecting over 3000 farmers nationally and is free on Google play store and the Apple app store.

6.9 Climate change

Climate change is one of the most talked-about topics in the world. Data shows that this trend is taking place and it warrants a shift in farming activities (Makuvaro et al., 2018:75). Climate change significantly affects the agricultural sector, including emerging farmers (Makuvaro et al., 2018:75). Changes in weather patterns that involve decreased rainfall, increased temperatures and increased frequency of severe weather events such as droughts and floods are characteristic of climate change. Climate change is expected to increase climatic variability in most areas and thus decrease mean rainfall, negatively impacting rain-fed agriculture (Findlater et al., 2019:47). This is most worrying because most of the emerging agricultural systems in South Africa are rainfed (Makuvaro et al., 2018:75).

Sustainable agricultural practices (SAPs) can address some of the problems of agricultural production by sequestering carbon to mitigate climate change, raise crop yields and income, and boost soil fertility. SAPs include rotation of crops or intercropping with legumes, conservation of tillage, preservation of residues, complimentary use of organic fertilisers, soil and water conservation by stone and soil bunds, and improved crop varieties (Manda et al., 2016:2). Conservation agriculture (CA) plays a crucial role in sustainable agriculture. As a climate adaptation strategy, CA can help emerging farmers combat the impact of climate change (Findlater et al., 2019:47). Emerging farmers need to embrace conservation agriculture to transition to climate-resilient agriculture (Satterfield et al., 2018:453). Crop insurance is also crucial for mitigating the risks associated with climate change. For emerging farmers, therefore, crop insurance must be subsidised by governments, non-governmental organisations and other aggregators to make crop insurance affordable, and accessible to previously uninsured farmers. Public-private partnerships are also required to provide emerging farmers with crop insurance solutions. Moreover, training should be given to emerging farmers about the insurance options available and how they can protect their business in the case of unforeseen events.

6.10 Financial

Government’s budget allocation to emerging farmers has increased since the mid-1990s (Aliber & Hall, 2012:550). However, the use and distribution of these financial tools benefit only a few farmers, and their effect is marginal. In support, Sebola (2018:1) recognises that the South African government spends a great deal of money annually on trying to convert emerging farmers to commercial farming. However Sebola (2018:1) argues that, in addition to the government’s visible expenditure, the investment ends up being lost to failed projects. Emerging farmers who qualify for funding have little expertise and experience and are not interested in agriculture. By comparison, Ncube (2018:89) reported that, given the increased budget allocation, lack of funding is still a significant concern. Wilk et al. (2013:281) claims that, without sufficient funding, developing farmers are unable to build irrigation systems, hire labour, and buy highly expensive inputs such as drought-resistant crops, fertilisers and pesticides to generate high crop yields and quality produce.

Aliber and Hall (2012:550) suggest that a strategic decision should be made to help a large number of farmers and turn them into commercial farmers by growing their production and diversifying it. Nonetheless, Sebola (2018:1) argues that funding should be focused on farmers with capacity, experience, and interest as that is the only way that the funding of the emerging farmers would be adequate. Funding should also be expanded to both private and public workers who have expertise and an interest in farming (Sebola, 2018:1).

Given the magnitude of the role of funding in emerging farming, it is clear that innovative ways of funding are necessary. One way to assist emerging farmers with funding is by providing them with land and title deeds so that they could utilise that as collateral at the banks when applying for loans. Clarity about agriculture and land policy, along with an efficient distribution of government grants to worthy farmers would also help banks to use developing farmers’ balance sheets better. Banks also need to update their financial models with more dynamic credit structures and mixed funding to assist with market access, expertise and finance. Blended financing is another way of providing financial assistance to emerging farmers by integrating official development assistance with private or public capital, and attracting development support from other sources. Blended financing is when banks partner with coordinated industry bodies that can also provide production finance and technical support to help emerging farmers. Such forms of partnership seem to be more successful in serving a broader base of similar farmers and also provide a basis for technical support, reducing the risk of production failure.

6.11 Quality management

Many factors during and after production may affect the quality of produce. Such factors may be internal, those controlled by the farmer, or external, which cannot be controlled by the farmers. The internal factors influencing the quality of agricultural products include the preference for farming practices (Karlsson et al., 2017:53), biological composition (Degani et al., 2018:26; Mendoza et al., 2017:9), the lack of technological adaptation (Tessema et al., 2018:33) and technical incompetence (Maponya et al., 2018:421). On the contrary, external factors influencing the quality of grain include climatic and environmental conditions (Czembor et al., 2015:11; Karlsson et al., 2017:54), a lack of agricultural resources, and the unavailability of quality inputs (Sebola, 2018:2).

With produce quality known to have an impact on market access and profit margins, emerging farmers are still struggling to meet the minimum quality and quantity production requirements (Maponya et al., 2018:421). From the preceding discussion, it is clear that the quality of grain is also affected by the same factors that affect the success of emerging farmers. Thus, this necessitates the development of a sector-specific quality management framework for emerging farmers. Alongside the technological aspects of producing quality products, the framework should adopt a holistic approach that also tackles internal and external factors impacting emerging farmers as this has an indirect effect on product quality.

The quality management framework should be based on the Deming cycle. The Deming cycle, also referred to as the Plan, Do Check, and Act (PDCA), is a four-stage iterative methodology intended to develop systems, goods or facilities continually and to fix problems. It involves systematically testing possible solutions, evaluating results and implementing those that have been proven to be effective. Any emerging farmer who wishes to produce quality products to become profitable and improve the overall performance of their business, should embrace and implement this framework.

Tools Plan Do (Implementation & Operation) Check (Evaluation) Act (Review)
Legal and quality Requirements Plan how legal and quality requirements will be managed. Mapping the legal and legal requirements (registers creation). Evaluation of compliance with legal and quality requirements Management review using inputs (e.g. suggested improvement actions) from the evaluation phase. Reflect on the lessons learned.
Investigation of internal and external factors affecting farming Plan how investigations will be conducted and managed Mapping the generic processes for the investigations Evaluation of the processes and the output of the investigation
Farming Risk assessments Plan how risk assessments will be managed Map the generic risk assessments Evaluate the risk assessments
Non-conformities to the requirements Plan how non-conformities will be managed Record non-conformities Evaluate the nonconformities
Corrective & preventive actions Plan how corrective & preventive actions will be managed Record corrective & preventive actions. Evaluate the execution of corrective and preventative actions responses
Purchasing Plan how purchases of raw materials and farming inputs will be managed Implement a coding system for Purchases Evaluate the coding system for Purchases
Emergencies Plan emergency preparedness Practice emergency preparedness. Evaluate emergency preparedness
Performance management Plan how production performance indicators will be managed Implement the monitoring of the production performance Indicators Evaluate the chosen production Performance Indicators
Document Control Plan how document control will be managed Documents controlled Evaluate how document control has been managed
  Train & communicate at every stage.

Table 1: The PDCA stages for emerging farmers

7. Discussion

The study is premised on the notion that factors affecting the success of emerging grain farmers are typically studied and presented in an incoherent and fragmented manner and does not view those factors as an integrated whole. This study is, therefore grounded on the conceptual integration (blending) theory. Conceptual integrations are a set of cognitive operations in which ideas, words, and pictures are combined in a network of mental spaces to create meaning. Conceptual integration theory suggests that construction requires the selective incorporation or mixing of conceptual elements and uses the theoretical framework of networks of conceptual integration to account for this process (Delibegović Džanić, 2007:170).

In order to understand and view the factors affecting the success of emerging farmers as an integrated whole, relationships between closely related factors that affect emerging farmers were established. The closely related factors are grouped into categories, namely, internal and external factors (see figure 2). Internal factors are those that the emerging farmers have control over while external factors are those that emerging farmers do not have control over and are often provided by the government. Internal factors comprise factors such as Educational qualifications, Farming experience/interest, Technical skills and basic business management competency, Technologically orientated, and the Forming of cooperatives. On the other hand, external factors include Access to land, Infrastructure, Resources, Extension services, Financial support, and Training and development. Sebola (2018:1) contends that the only way for government support initiatives such as funding for emerging farmers to be successful, is if the criteria are based on skills, experience and interest in farming. Hence, internal factors should be used as a prerequisite for the government to provide some of the external factors to assess the levels of interest, passion and skills of emerging farmers. Moreover, emerging farmers should engage in self-development through educational training, workshops, shadowing of experienced commercial farmers, and other means available to them, to demonstrate their farming interest and skills.


Figure 2: Internal and external factors affecting emerging farmers

8. Conclusion

Researchers who have studied emerging farmers and the factors affecting their success have done so in a fragmented and incoherent manner without looking at those factors as an intelligible whole. The incoherence makes it challenging to comprehend the critical factors affecting the success of emerging farmers and for authorities to develop comprehensive policies aimed at transforming emerging farmers into commercial farmers. This paper identified 11 disjointed critical factors that affect the success of emerging farmers, namely, access to land, infrastructure resources, access to markets, government support, education and knowledge, agricultural practices, technological advancement, climate change, financial, and quality. Therefore, this paper suggests that to understand and view the factors affecting the success of emerging farmers as an integrated whole, they need to be categorised as internal and external. Moreover, internal factors should be seen as a prerequisite for the provision of some of the external factors by the government to avoid wasting government money on emerging farmers who lack an interest and passion for farming.

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