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Sustainable Societies Unit

Total Factor Productivity Studies

The theme running through the Total Factor Productivity Studies is the common analytical method. Beatrice’s work in the area began in the wine industry but soon spread to the entire Western Cape Province. Census was data revealed that over the last half of the 20th century the fruit and wine industries made rapid technical progress while dryland crop farming and extensive grazing failed to thrive. This insight gave birth to the Karoo Predator Project. Hein Gerwel is now working on an extension of the agricultural productivity map into the Eastern Cape which offers serious critique of the National Development Plan’s vision of a million extra jobs in irrigated agriculture. Climate change and a lack of extension capacity are serious problems.

In addition to ongoing work on the performance of Karoo agriculture, this project includes Craig Galloway’s work on the overlap between economic and environmental sustainability in dairy farming in the Eastern Cape, the wine industry post farm labour reforms, the performance of the agro-processing sector in Zambia, Cathy Namome’s study of the alternatives to tobacco production in smallholder agriculture in Uganda and a joint project with PRISM on productivity benchmarking for South Africa’s automotive industry. A Total Factor Productivity Study yielded the first productivity benchmark for urban agriculture and a soon to appear benchmark for the SME sector.

Working papers

  • Conradie, B., Piesse, J. (2014) Productivity benchmarking for extensive sheep farms: Technical efficiency, correlates of productivity and dominant technology variants for Laingsburg, South Africa.  CSSR working paper 344. www.cssr.uct.ac.za/ publ/ wp/344.
  • Conradie, B.I., Landman, A.M. (2013). A comparison of the performance under field conditions of woolled and mutton sheep flocks in a low rainfall region of South Africa. CSSR working paper 333 www.cssr.uct.ac.za/ publ/ wp/333.
  • Conradie, B., Piesse, J., Thirtle, C. (2008) Total Factor Productivity at the District Level for the Western Cape, 1952 - 2002: Data and Methods. Working paper 50, Research papers Kings College London. www.kings.ac.uk

Journal articles

  • Dyer, M., Mills, R., Conradie, B., Piesse, J. (2015).  Harvest of Hope: The contribution of peri-urban agriculture in South African townships. Agrekon 54(4): 71-84.
  • Conradie, B., Piesse, J. (2015). Productivity benchmarking of free-range sheep operations: Technical efficiency, correlates of productivity and dominant technology variants for Laingsburg, South Africa. Agrekon 54(2):1-17
  • Conradie, B.I., Landman, A.M. (2015). Wool versus mutton in extensive grazing areas. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension 43(1):22-31
  • Conradie B., Piesse J., Thirtle, C. (2009) District level total factor productivity in agriculture: Western Cape Province, South Africa, 1952 – 2002. Agricultural Economics 40(3): 265-280
  • Conradie B., Piesse J., Thirtle, C. (2009) What is the Appropriate Level of Aggregation for Productivity Indices? Comparing District, Regional and National Measures. Agrekon 48(1): 9-20
  • Conradie, B., Cooksen G., Thirtle, C. (2006) Efficiency and farm size in Western Cape wine grape production: An enquiry into pooling small datasets. South African Journal of Economics 74(2): 334-343