Prof Beatrice Conradie

Prof Beatrice Conradie

Director: Sustainable Societies Unit

Associate Professor, School of Economics

Professor Conradie has been at UCT since 1999 and associated with the CSSR since 2003 and director of the Social Sustainability Unit since 2012. She has an undergraduate degree in Agriculture and an honours degree in Agricultural Economics from Stellenbosch University. Her masters, also from Stellenbosch, was on the potential for land reform in the apple industry. Her PhD from Colorado State University was on efficient water allocation in the Fish-Sundays irrigation scheme of the Eastern Cape. Her current research involves productivity benchmarking, the impact of climate change on agriculture, human wildlife conflict and conservation on farmland and in 2019 she was honoured with the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa’s Tomlinson Medal.

Contact details


Tel: +2721 650 4774

Office: Room 4.29.2 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus

Current research

  • Productivity benchmarking
  • Farm labour markets
  • Human wildlife conflict
  • Urban and small-scale agriculture

I will continue to use productivity analysis as the basic framework for evaluating the performance of agriculture. There are several projects underway in South Africa and the rest of the continent that will help to monitor the sector’s response to ongoing reforms. My own work in the Karoo studies the impact of predators and climate smart agriculture on farm productivity, and with my PhD student Hein Gerwel we are developing a productivity map for Eastern Cape agriculture. On sabbatical in 2016 I have developed with first stochastic production function for the wine industry with colleagues in the UK and we are now working on a Malmquist index for the sector.

I am in the process of revisiting Breede Farm Labour Panel to produce new wage elasticities for the sector. Early indications are that the 43% increase in the statutory minimum wage in 2013 caused an immediate and dramatic reduction in the number of casual workers employed on wine farms and that even permanent staff no longer have the same job security as they always did. I want to find out which farms have mechanized most and which have not, and whether labour relations have properly modernized or whether they just reinvented themselves into a neo-paternalistic version of what they were before. There is also an interesting question on general relations following a recent claim by a UCT colleague that farmers are systematically discriminating against women famer workers. Unlike my work ten years ago, the intention is this time to get data from both employers and employees.

The Karoo Predator Project is now a formal collaboration with iCwild.

My community outreach work continues opportunistically within the framework of UCT’s Knowledge Co-operative attached to the Research Office

Curriculum Vitae

Download Prof Conradie's CV.

Recent publications

Conradie, Beatrice, Jenifer Piesse, Colin Thirtle & Nick Vink. (2019) ‘South African wine grape production, 2005–2015: regional comparisons of scale and technical efficiencies and total factor productivity’, Agrekon 58:(1): 53-67; DOI: 10.1080/03031853.2018.1537190.

Conradie, Beatrice, Ida Linde Hansen & Mariska Oosthuizen. (2019) ‘Experiences with and the viability of a recycling pilot project in a Cape Town township’, Development Southern Africa 36(1): 99-110; DOI: 10.1080/0376835X.2018.1484699.

Colleta Gandidzanwa, Frikkie Liebenberg, Ferdi Meyer & Beatrice Conradie, ‘Quality adjusting agricultural machinery in South Africa’. (2019) Agrekon 58(1): 42-52, DOI 10.1080/03031853.2018. 1545682.

Kapya, D., Conradie, B., Black, A. (2018). Can agro-processing lead re-industrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa? A two-stage appraoch to productivity analysis. African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 13(3):199-208.

Conradie, B., Piesse, J., Thirtle, C., Vink, N. (2018). ‘Labor Demand in the Post-apartheid South African Wine Industry,’ Journal of Agricultural Economics.

Kapya, D., Conradie, B., Black, A. (2018). ‘Can agro-processing lead re-industrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa? A two-stage appraoch to productivity analysis,’ African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 13(3).

Piesse, J., Conradie, B., Thirtle, C., Vink, N. (2018). ‘Efficiency in wine grape production: comparing old and new regions of South Africa,’ Agricultural Economics 49: 203-212.

Conradie, B., Nattrass, N. (2018).' The robustness of self-report data on predation: A comparison of two Karoo surveys African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Conradie,B. I. (2016). The implications of a weak public extension service for the productivity performance of Karoo agriculture. South African Journal of Agricultural Extension 44(2): 99-109.

Conradie, B.I., Piesse, J. (2016). Ranking perceived risk to farmers: How important is the environment? African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 11(4): 263-276.

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

Nattrass, N., Conradie, B. (2015). Jackal Narratives: The politics and science of predator control in the Western Cape, South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies 41(4): 753-771(Special edition: Science and Scandal)

Nattrass, N., Conradie, B., Conradie, I. (2015). The Koup fencing project: Community-led job creation in the Karoo. African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 10(2): 131-145.

Conradie, B., Treurnicht, M., Esler, K. and Gaertner, M. (2013) Determinants of participation in a landscape-scale conservation initiative on the Agulhas Plain, Cape Floristic Region. Biological Conservation 158:334 – 341.

Conradie, B.I., Piesse, J. (2013). The effect of predator culling on livestock losses: Ceres, South Africa, 1979 – 1987. African Journal of Agriculture and Resource Economics 8(4): 265-274

Garcia, M., Conradie, B. (2013). An estimate of the recreational value of the Agulhas Plain, South Africa, with special reference to the value of plant biodiversity. South African Journal of Economics and Management Sciences 16(2):170-182.

Thom, A.E., Conradie, B.I., (2013). Urban agriculture’s enterprise potential: Exploring vegetable box schemes in Cape Town. Agrekon 52(S1): 64 -86

Conradie, B., Piesse, J., Thirtle, C., Vink, N. And Winter, K. (2013). Explaining declining total factor productivity in the Karoo districts of the Western Cape, 1952 to 2002 Agrekon 52(S1): 1-23