Challenges and Opportunities Facing Emerging Farmers in North West Province, South African
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The purpose of the study is to understand the opportunities and challenges that impede emerging farmers in the Ventersdorp Local Municipality from being incorporated into the mainstream agriculture, and make an effort to find ways that would assist emerging farmers within the municipality area in developing their operations into viable and profitable businesses that would enable them to participate in commercial agricultural sector, and becoming the engine for economic growth. Literature review was conducted to provide a theoretical background to study and empirical research that has been carried out in the study of emerging farmers. The literature review focuses on understanding how emerging farmers work, and the challenges and opportunities they face in their quest of entering the mainstream agricultural economy. The review aims at determining the root cause of failure among emerging farmers, and recommending measures to prevent failure and to ensure that future emerging farmers do not face the same pitfalls. After an extensive literature study, personal interviews were conducted with emerging farmers producing the selected commodities. Interviews were primarily aimed at understanding the status quo of the farming businesses, their challenges, constraints and needs which would in turn inform intervention strategies suitable for revamping and improving farming enterprises. Major challenges facing emerging farmers include insecure land rights, limited access to factors of production, finance and information, limited government support, investment, working capital, insufficient farm size, inadequate or damaged infrastructure, poor farm management, high competition in the industry, knowledge and education about farming. The findings of the study on the opportunities and challenges led to the researcher recommending measures to prevent failure and to ensure that future emerging farmers do not face the same pitfalls. This entails formulation and promotion of a regional farming guidance improvement plan, which will assist emerging farmers in revamping and improving of their enterprises. This intervention is aimed at enabling emerging farmers to enter into reliable and sustainable value chains. It is envisaged, that subsequent to the intervention, Ventersdorp emerging farmers will be able to develop their farming enterprises into viable commercial entities, which will consecutively become a source of sustainable income and employment for their respective communities.