Agricultural Economics
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Feb 2017
JC Greyling

ILUPSA: Tackling land reform with Agroscope

The Department of Agricultural Economics has secured funding through the Swiss South African Joint Research Programme (SSAJRP) for a four year research project focussing on land reform. This programme was established in 2007 by the Swiss and South African governments to promote scientific and technological cooperation. Grants awarded through the programme are aimed at promoting collaborative projects with ambitious research objectives and innovative approaches.

Most stakeholders agree that the land reform programme has failed to achieve its objectives of redress, poverty alleviation, economic growth and the establishment of vibrant and inclusive rural communities. Stakeholders do not agree on the mechanisms through which this should be achieved - thus far these have mainly resulted in the implementation of poorly designed or unworkable programmes.

The objective of the ILUPSA (Impacts of Land Use Patterns in South Africa) project addresses this through the development of a novel-agent based model of South African agriculture. Such a model will enable the testing of various "what if" scenarios in order to assist with the development of optimal reform strategies. The project undertaken in collaboration with Prof Stefan Mann from Agroscope, the Swiss centre of excellence for agricultural research.

The South African component of ILUPSA is funded by the South African National Research Foundation (NRF) and will total R2.2 million over four years. This includes two PhD bursaries, data collection, research exchanges and the installation of a high capacity computer capable of processing complex agent-based interactions and large data modelling.