Development without a peasantry: a forgotten aspect of the land issue in South Africa

The policies of the apartheid regime prematurely destroyed the peasantry in South Africa, leaving millions of people without land or jobs. The abrogation of racial laws that reserved 87 per cent of the land for whites makes it possible to launch policies addressing the needs of black farmers. Efforts to promote the emergence of black commercial farmers risk worsening conditions for much of the rural population. While it cannot neglect commercial agriculture and food security, South Africa also needs to revive peasant agriculture, which can play a role similar to that of the informal sector in urban areas.