A key priority area for the South African government is rural development, food security and land reform. A vibrant small-scale farming sector has the potential to reduce rural poverty, unemployment and food insecurity, as well as addressing the political challenges of racially unbalanced agricultural production patterns. Past and current government initiatives to support small-scale farmers have generally not been effective because they have been too prescriptive about what smallholder farmers produce; their use of technology; scale of production; and purpose of production (whether for consumption or sale). Broader economic conditions such as the dualistic nature of the economy, particularly in the agricultural sector, have presented challenges to small-scale farmers in terms of market access and opportunities for value addition. In addition, the scarcity of water has constrained the development of new irrigation capacity. A new national policy initiative needs to focus on achieving scale and impact. This means supporting small-scale farmers to boost their productivity, diversify their produce, and raise their incomes.