in the case of NAFU, to communicate with members, convene members’ meetings and employ capable staff with adequate resources to address farmers’ needs. In some cases, this was confounded by self-serving leaders using the organisation to their advantage. Such constraints made it difficult for effective representation and policy engagement.

Parallel to the farmer organisations’ efforts, the government’s relationship with them also impacts on their ability to influence national policies. On the whole, the South African government has been open to working with organised agriculture in developing policies and programmes, and states this in its strategic documents (e.g. as in the Strategic Plan for South African Agriculture, 2001 and all subsequent plans). In practice, however, the officials frequently want to facilitate the formation of other organisations outside the already established ones or do not trust the legitimacy and representativeness of the existing organisations. They hence call up meetings of farmers in general, without necessarily going through the leadership of the existing organisations.