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In 2008 we watched as the financial crisis culminated in protests against high food prices in various countries in both developed and developing countries. By that time, the phenomenon had become commonly known as a global financial crisis. Although there were initially claims that South Africa was not affected by the financial crisis, it later became clear that South Africa was not immune. During the period under review it is claimed that the South African agricultural sector created 35 000 jobs while 34 000 jobs were created by private households. It is not clear whether the jobs created by the agricultural sector were permanent or casual jobs. However, this prompted Stats South Africa spokesperson, Kefiloe Masiteng, to claim that “(A)gricultural employment is showing signs of recovery after seven successive quarters of job losses”.

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Zingisa Educational Project has a long history of working with the rural poor in the Amatole District Municipality.  Our experience over the years has convinced us that there is an urgent need to re-conceptualise the export-oriented farming model.  We believe that this model of farming is completely inappropriate for low-resourced farmers, particularly in a hostile global context, where even experienced commercial farmers are struggling to survive.  Much of the success of the model of commercial farming inherited can be attributed to the availability of land and cheap labour that was facilitated by a wide range of apartheid laws and policies.  Even then, the state had to pour enormous resources into farming to ensure its success. None of these conditions apply today.

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Central to our objectives during 2010 was building the capacity of small-scale fishing community leaders in order for them to advocate, and assist with the implementation of an approach to small-scale fisheries policy and management in South Africa that would maximise the sector’s potential to contribute to poverty alleviation, food security and gender equity. This we achieved through a series of field-trips by staff and, local area and regional workshops. These workshops also accommodated the crosscutting themes of access to natural marine resources as a means of income generation and livelihood sustainability and HIV/AIDS awareness amongst others. This year was also a period in which we gave effect to our new five year strategic plan.   When we reflect we can indeed be proud of the milestones we have reached in 2010.

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2010 was a year the country and most of its citizens will never forget. South Africa staged one of the world’s biggest events and leading up to this World Cup spectacular, the country underwent massive infrastructure development of stadiums, roads-networks, the construction of the Guatrain rail link between Johannesburg international and Sandton, the upgrading of the Johannesburg-Durban train route, and more. Yes, South Africa was able to showcase its ‘world class cities’, its natural beauty, its hospitality and its human capital. There was very little mentioned about the more than one million jobs losses in 2010, or the more than 13 million people still dependent on social grants, or of how social injustice manifests itself in continued labour unrest, schools’ unrest and community unrest in a demand for basic social services.

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Khanyisa’s area of operation is the Cacadu District (Eastern Cape, South Africa) in the Koega and Sundays River municipalities. Commercial agriculture is the dominant industry in these areas, with citrus and game farming being the biggest activities. The current farming practice is by its nature exclusionary as it only absorbs labour at certain times of the year, whilst the introduction of game farming has resulted in the retrenchment of a number of farm workers.
Unemployment in these areas is extremely high with the only source of income being seasonal work and state grants. The limited land redistribution in the district (less than 5% of land redistributed) has been an absolute failure with many of the land reform projects collapsing, due to the lack of support in the form of farm equipment, farm inputs and management expertise.

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