The Southern Africa region has experienced more than its fair share of problems in recent years. Just when it seemed that the hardships wrought by the devastating cycle of droughts and floods of 2000 to 2002 were a thing of the past, other problems emerged. At one level, there have be... en the weak and often erratic governance mechanisms and political crises in some countries of the region, leading to severe disruptions in agricultural production to the point that supplies and markets have virtually disappeared. At another level, socio-cultural rigidities have often militated against the adoption of efficient farming practices, resulting in sub-optimal choices that lock smallholders into a low equilibrium trap. In the face of the disappearing supplies and missing markets, these have engendered hyper-inflationary trends of a magnitude unknown anywhere else in the world. But in the midst of all this apparent dreariness, cases are emerging from which immense lessons can be drawn. This book assembles a collection of research papers based on studies completed in 2008 and 2009 in Southern Africa that examine various dimensions of the institutional constraints small farmers are facing in the region and how they are going about dealing with them. The papers draw from these diverse and polar experiences and present some theoretical and practical insights that should form the basis for more in-depth, country-level, sector-specific analyses, focusing mainly on citrus, horticultures, cotton and livestock. The thematic issues of income inequality, land reform, natural resource management and value chain governance and chain choice, are covered in this book and are expected to be of interest for a wide constituency, including researchers, development practitioners, rural animators, and policy makers.
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