An entrepreneurial framework to enhance the agricultural sector in a district of the Limpopo Province
Modiba, Matlakala Dinah
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Agriculture, which includes all economic activities from the provision of farming inputs, farming and value adding, remains an important sector in the South African economy. In Limpopo Province, most of the agricultural land is embedded within the rural areas and agriculture is practiced at a small scale. Though government development programmes are put in place to promote entrepreneurship, most agribusinesses are still encountering challenges that stagnates entrepreneurial activities. The aim of the research study was to develop an entrepreneurial framework to enhance the agricultural sector within the Limpopo Province. The study was conducted in Greater Sekhukhune District Municipality (GSDM), which is an identified nodal point by government. In order to encourage more farmers or people to start their own agribusinesses this study was conducted in five municipalities of GSDM: Elias Motsoaledi, Fetakgomo, Makhuduthamaga, Marble Hall and Tubatse. A stratified random sampling was used and 54 farmer entrepreneurs participated in the survey. Farmers that are supported by the provincial department of agriculture through development programmes and those that are actively participating in agricultural activities within the identified municipalities took part in the study. Entrepreneurial levels amongst the farmers were assessed as well as the problems that they believe hinder entrepreneurial spirit within the district. The survey findings revealed that most farmer entrepreneurs are in the age group of 40 to 59, have mostly four to five children and have completed Grade 12. The majority of the agribusinesses operate under a mixed farming system comprising both livestock and crop production. Most have been in business for more than five years. Motivation into self employment include the need for independence, need for challenge, existing opportunities, need high job security, insufficient family income, role models and difficulty in finding jobs. Impediments to entrepreneurship have been indicated as follows: Lack of education and training, limited competency in managerial expertise, inadequate entrepreneurial services, inaccessible and distant markets, lack of infrastructure, financing, lack of business network, and limited access to information. Since this study aimed to develop an entrepreneurial framework to encourage agricultural entrepreneurship, the following recommendations were made based on the findings of the survey: • Enhance the environment for entrepreneurship by creating the right culture and conditions for entrepreneurship. • Create the right agricultural entrepreneurial policy. • Invest in a high quality, integrated system of support services. • Foster entrepreneurship education at all levels to ensure capacity building for diverse enterprises. • Strengthen business to business networking opportunities. • Monitor and evaluate entrepreneurship support interventions.