Baseline Research

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The National Agricultural Research Council (NAMC) was commissioned to conduct research to determine the status of agriculture in South African, particularly with respect to small-scale farmers. The key points of interest were their adoption of sustainable production practices and these farmers' participation in ecolabelling. Ecolabelling is a method of verifying and certifying the socioeconomic, environmental and quality aspects of products against a set of standards that reflect best practice. It is considered a critical tool for promoting meaningful market access.

A total of 392 farmers were interviewed in six provinces: KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, Eastern Cape, Free State and Western Cape.

Principal Findings

  • Overall, the level of awareness of sustainable production practices and ecolabelling among small-scale farmers is very low at 11.73%.
  • All large-scale farms are certified against one or more local and international standards.
  • 61.4% of small-scale farmers do not have any form of certification.

The low level of activity in certification programmes amongst small-scale farmers can be attributed to a number of factors, including the cost of the required production system adaptation and certification, a lack of exposure to and understanding of certification and its benefits, and the absence of certification systems that are applicable to small-scale farmers.

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