Agriculture remains the primary source of employment and income for most of the rural populations of Southern Africa (Hachigonta et al. 2013). When focusing on the political economy of agriculture and food in the region, Europe and European legislation have played a dominant role in both the past and the present. All the countries under discussion were impacted by colonial rule, and at present there is a significant disparity between commercial and smallholder agriculture. While the disparity is one of the consequences of colonialism and South African apartheid policies in the region, this disparity is exacerbated by current European Union (EU) trade policies. With future challenges related to climate change, combined with declining EU market access and struggles to better integrate smallholders into income generating activities, the Southern African region is in need of a new map with which to navigate towards a future that ensures a vibrant agricultural sector.

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Copyright © 2015 Edward Elgar Press. This chapter first appeared in The Handbook of International Political Economy of Agriculture and Food.

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