Agricultural economics scholarship in South Africa at the crossroads : is it time for a national institute of food, agricultural and resource economics?

16 Nov 2011

This paper reflects on the standing and impact of the work of agricultural economists in South Africa to illustrate the critical decisions faced by the profession as it contemplates its future. The focus is on the agricultural economic scholarship per se and not on the policy and practice issues of the discipline. Following the review of agricultural economic research output in South Africa the paper then also raises questions about relevance and impact of the discipline and the quality of training. Given these concerns the paper makes the case for improved coordination and perhaps consolidation of the discipline and presents a proposal for the establishment of a national institute that will consolidate and improve training at the various universities as well as adequately fund and direct research.