Local level, collective small-scale farming projects in the Kat River Valley, like elsewhere, have proven difficult to sustain. Various factors from macro-level policies to local level social and political dynamics were found to hinder or block the success of such projects. Some of the most challenging factors relate to history and path dependency, prevailing neoliberal agricultural policies and discourses, narrow markets, internal conflicts, lack of local capacity and unclear and insecure land tenure. Addressing these challenges and barriers requires solutions from the national to local level that embrace a fundamental shift in thinking from a purely commercial farming focus to one that considers multifunctional landscapes and agro-ecological approaches that help to reduce input costs, diversify crops, target multiple markets and provide food for the table. !Furthermore, working closely with individual farmers, and being aware of and catering for, the diversity of production interests and objectives amongst these farmers (especially gender differences) is key to success.
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We are a small department dedicated to advancing inter- and trans-disciplinary science and learning aimed at understanding and managing complex human-environmental/social-ecological systems, with a focus on Africa.