Proceedings

PR – Changing Perceptions Of The Risk Environment Faced By Commercial Sugarcane Farmers In Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa

This study identifies sources of risk that commercial sugarcane farmers in the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa, presently perceive to pose the greatest threat to the viability of their businesses. Data obtained in 2006 via structured personal interviews of 76 large-scale sugarcane farmers from a stratified random sample of 110 farmers in two separate mill-supply areas of KZN were used to elicit farmers’ perceptions of various sources of risk. The most important risk sources were found to be the threats posed by land reform, minimum wage legislation and the variability of the sugar price, in that order. Land reform and minimum wage legislation did not feature prominently in past studies of KZN farmers during the 1990s. Factor analysis identified additional risk dimensions that exist within the remaining risk sources. Recommendations include that government improve accessibility to information regarding future plans for land and labour policies, and that farmers become more proactive in terms of obtaining information to reduce uncertainty and resultant efficiency barriers.

Keywords: commercial sugarcane farmers, land reform, minimum wage legislation.

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Author(s): Ferrer, S.R.D., Mac Nicol, R., Ortmann, G.F.

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Organizations(s): School of Agricultural Sciences and Agribusiness, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg