The analysis of game farming is set in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Game farming reorders the use, meaning and value of land and animal species. However, what it means for rural development processes in the immediate region and beyond is not well accounted for. We perceive game farming as an assemblage that brings together new actors, new forms of land use and new discourses. We argue that although game farming has generated new opportunities and new forms of added value to the available resources (e.g. eco-tourism, trophy hunting, game-meat production), situated in the history and contemporary context of the Eastern Cape, it is a contested, and from a development point of view, problematic land-use practice. We argue that game farming constrains land and agrarian reforms: the distribution of land and income remains skewed; ‘poaching’ occurs and game farms do not, or only minimally, generate new and badly needed employment opportunities. The game farm has emerged as an exclusive, globally well-connected space. The nature of the relationships this space maintains with the surrounding communities is, however, such that the overall contribution to rural development in South Africa is questionable.
- Land use
- Rural development game farming