Article from ROAPE Volume 21 Number 61
Farmers' Strategies & Land Reform in Orange Free State
It is possible to conjure a wide variety of future agricultural scenarios in South Africa. But new policies should be developed only with close attention to what exists and what is feasible. Analysis of the potential for land reform should remain sensitive to local ecological and economic conditions and to the current strategies of both farmers and dispossessed. Rural life for many people remains insecure. Farm workers are particularly vulnerable at present and might become more so in a phase of rapid reform and uncertainty. Although the most carefully planned strategy of reform might be undermined by the sheer demand for land or informal reoccupations, the aims of restitution, justice and redistribution should be tempered by the equally difficult demands of production. Drawing on material from a local research project in the Orange Free State (OFS), done jointly with Colin Murray, this article concentrates on 3 issues: Patterns of land ownership; farming strategies; and land availability. The position of farm workers and those who have recently moved off farms, as well as the potential for new patterns of occupation will be addresses in subsequent project papers (Murray 1993).