Analysis of strengths and weaknesses of land reform farms of diverse farmers and uses in the Waterberg District, South Africa

A.J. Netshipale*, M.L. Mashiloane, E.N. Raidimi, I.J.M. de Boer, S.J. Oosting

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this study, we aimed to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of land reform (LR) farms (‘farm issues’) because the lack of understanding of these issues could partly be the cause of limited livelihood gains from these farms. Furthermore, the examination of these issues provided specific recommendations to each group of farms, which could improve LR farmers' livelihood gains. We investigated 50 LR farms in the Waterberg District Municipality (WDM), Limpopo Province, in South Africa. A survey was conducted, literature about the consequences of climate change and prospects for financial support from the state was reviewed, and a stakeholder workshop was organised. We used Fisher-Freeman-Halton exact test to analyse survey data and conducted strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis to explore strategic issues. Farms were classified into 3 groups based on their SWOT issues: A-better-off farms dominated by extensive land uses (n = 22), B- better-off farms dominated by intensive land uses (n = 24), and C- poor farms dominated by either extensive or intensive uses (n = 4). Farmers' social class, conditions of farm physical capital endowment, and the characteristics of the land use activities determined the strengths and weaknesses of LR farms. Strengths of group A farms were good physical capital and less external financial support requirements, and weaknesses were that partnerships were unlikely and family labour was costly. The distinct strength of group B farms was that partnerships were likely, and their high need for external financial support was a distinct weakness. Group C farms had distinct strengths in that family labour was cheap, and insufficient physical capital was their weakness. Acknowledging the diversity in strengths and weaknesses of farms is essential for land reform to play a critical role in rural development. We envisage that financial support from the state, will yield improved production in poor farms. Private investors will yield high production in the better-off farms only if farmers adopt climate-smart agricultural practices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100482
Number of pages11
JournalSocial Sciences and Humanities Open
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Constraints
  • Farmer support
  • Farmers' social class
  • Land use activities
  • SWOT analysis


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