BOOK REVIEW | A Country of Two Agricultures


The Disparities, The Challenges and The Solutions

By Wandile Sihlobo

Nearly three decades after the dawn of democracy, South Africa has remained a country of ‘two agricultures’.

On the one hand we have a subsistence, primarily non-commercial, black farming segment. On the other hand, however, we have a predominantly commercial and white farming sector that is well-resourced and has access to domestic and international trade networks.

These disparities can be traced back to South Africa’s painful history where, for decades, black farmers were on the margins of government support and also experienced land dispossession and livestock plunder.

The present and the future

A Country of Two Agricultures focuses less on history and more on the present and the future, explaining why these disparities have persisted in the democratic era, and what it will take to overcome them.

It aims to contribute to a better understanding of the variety of agricultural forces, taking into account both questions of domestic political economy and external factors, as well as to bring to light new risks and opportunities.

Wandile Sihlobo offers insights into the role of agriculture in the South African economy from an agricultural economy perspective, and provides political economy insights that are rooted in the experiences of farming communities on the ground and right through the value chain.

Beyond insights on the realities this book offers the government, the private sector, and anyone interested in the betterment of the South African economy, tools to grapple with this duality, and proposes a framework for bolstering the black farming segment for growth and competitiveness – and ultimately food security.

About the author

Wandile Sihlobo is the Chief Economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz) and author of Finding Common Ground: Land, Equity & Agriculture (Picador Africa, 2020).

He is a Senior Lecturer Extraordinary at the Department of Agricultural Economics at Stellenbosch University and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Wits School of Governance. He is also a research associate at the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) at Rhodes University.

Wandile holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Fort Hare and a Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from Stellenbosch University.

Wandile was appointed as a member of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Presidential Economic Advisory Council in 2019 (and re-appointed in 2022), having served on the Presidential Expert Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture from 2018.

He is also a member of the Council of Statistics of South Africa (Stats SA), a Commissioner at the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) and is a columnist for Business DayThe Herald and Farmer’s Weekly magazine.

  • PUBLISHER | Tracey McDonald Publishers |
  • ISBN | 978-1-7764431-6-1 |
  • Recommended Retail Price | R280.00 |
  • Classification | Agriculture |

For more information | Janine Daniel | +27 (0)83 327 3393 mail me |



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