African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6638

Full Length Research Paper

The impact of farmer support programmes on household income and sustainability in smallholder production: A case study of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal farmers, South Africa

Sikwela M. M.* and Mushunje A.
Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, University of Fort Hare, P. Bag X1314, Alice 5700, RSA.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 23 May 2013
  •  Published: 06 June 2013


A number of Farmer Support Programmes have been implemented in South Africa to reduce the risk of a lack of capacity and a lack of economic and/or financial experience in smallholder farms. Intervention measures have been instituted to these smallholder farmers to assist them to move out of poverty through agricultural production. Unfortunately, smallholder farmers are further constrained by institutional obstacles which include lack of access to information, lack of technical skills, high marketing and transaction costs leading to low quality and volumes. The aim of this study was to assess the role played by Farmer Support Programmes in addressing income and welfare of smallholder farmers in South Africa. Using a Tobit and Propensity Score Matching technique potential, diffusion effects were eliminated between farmers supported by Farmer Support Programmes and farmers that do not belong to support services. Findings show that household size, education level of household head and distance to the nearest market were found to be significant at 10 and 5%. Farmer Support Programmes and collective marketing activities such as the collection and sale of members’ output appear to have a significant and positive impact on smallholder welfare of those farmers engaged in them.


Key words: Smallholder farmers, farmer support programmes, income, welfare, Tobit regression, propensity score matching.