Original Research

Agriculture and local economic development: a case study of uMshwathi

Claudia Ariatti, Mihalis Chasomeris
Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences | Vol 8, No 2 | a102 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jef.v8i2.102 | © 2019 Claudia Ariatti, Mihalis Chasomeris | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 December 2017 | Published: 30 July 2015

About the author(s)

Claudia Ariatti, Graduate School of Business and Leadership, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Mihalis Chasomeris, Graduate School of Business and Leadership, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Local economic development (LED) is a process encompassing mobilisation of resources for competitive advantage by locally-owned or managed courses of action, identified through participation and social dialogue, in a strategically defined territory. LED based on sound business principles can contribute to economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation. The South African Constitution mandates LED to municipalities. Agriculture remains one of the most labour-intensive goods-production sectors with substantial employment linkages. The study centres on whether agriculture can provide an effective strategy for LED in uMshwathi Local Municipality, District Municipality of uMgungundlovu, KwaZulu-Natal, using the research method of the case study and secondary data. LED theories applied embody the principle of value-adding risk management. Locational development-inducing factors and high potential agricultural land for smallholder and organic farming provide comparative and competitive advantage. Agriculture’s significant role to accelerate LED in uMshwathi is confirmed. A grand strategy and functional strategies are proposed.


local economic development; uMshwathi Local Municipality; agricultural employment


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