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Abstract

Abstract

South Africa’s agricultural sector has undergone substantial policy reform since the dawn of democracy in 1994. Now, twenty years later, it is an opportune time to look back at this period to review key successes and failures. This article revisits South Africa’s context and policy at the start of this period, the reforms that followed, and evaluates the transformational effect (or lack thereof) on the sector. For this purpose, the article pulls from both qualitative sources and descriptive statistics to provide both a historical context and current perspective. The analysis shows that redistributive land reform and smallholder support programs have achieved limited success in transforming the sector towards greater inclusivity. Trade and marketing policy reform, however, has succeeded in transforming the sector towards greater productivity and international competitiveness. This has increased the market and climate resilience of the sector, but the limited inclusivity of historically disadvantaged persons poses significant challenges.