Joint Publications

Understanding South African food and agricultural policy – Implications for agri-food value chains, regulation, and formal and informal livelihoods

Published 16 August 2016, by Scott Drimie

Publication: PLAAS Working Paper 39

In order to create credibility and sustainability between policies, to avoid political confusion and to reassure “investor confidence”, a clear agri-food policy package needs to be in place. To achieve this, policy packages should be constructed to give coherence, with an explicit goal and set of objectives, underscoring accountability to delivery. Considering current policy debates, the questions pursued in this paper are: does a clear vision guide existing and emerging agriculture and food policies and are a clear set of measures defined to achieve this vision? By analysing several relevant policies, the paper argues that South African food and agricultural policy profoundly lacks coherence. Although policy may seem to be aligned at one level, the reality of implementation and the political rhetoric emerging around food and agriculture tells a different story. This lack of coherence has important implications for a food system that is faltering in many respects, and for research or processes intended to inform evidence-based policy.

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