Since 1994, the South African government has embarked on an ambitious land reform programme to redistribute and return land to previously disenfranchised communities. However, many black people lack the knowledge, skills and experience needed to manage their land. Furthermore, this paper finds that the way in which the government is implementing its land reform programme is constraining many of its beneficiaries from making agriculture a more important part of their livelihoods.The paper finds that there is a need for the government to invest more heavily in the "pre-designation" phase of the land reform process. Frequently many of the problems experienced by land reform groups in the "post-designation phase" can be traced to issues that were inadequately discussed before the land was transferred, and often the problems are more difficult to resolve after the pre-designation phase leading to inefficient resource use.The paper provides a number of conclusions and recommendations regarding changes to the pre- and post- designation parts of the process. For the pre-designation phase, these include:broadening the programme so that it is able to address a much wider range of issues than is currently occurring. These should not be restricted to technical agricultural matters; they must also embrace social, organisational and management issuesthe process should be made more inclusive, recognising that land reform beneficiaries have limited knowledge of agriculture and the risks and opportunities involvedthe sometimes hidden objective of preventing beneficiaries from settling permanently on their land must be addressed.A successful post-designation phase requires:ensuring that all beneficiaries, not just the better off, are able to gain access to their farms at a reasonable costinforming beneficiaries of their obligations to financial lenders and providing better access to the credit marketrevisiting the logic of transferring large technically complex farms to black people who have few of the relevant assets required to manage farms of this natureformulating a new model for land reform that allows the household, to start farming and providing a favourable institutional environment for expansion if they wish to make agriculture a more important part of their livelihoods.[adapted from author]
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