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					Agritourism in KwaZulu-Natal
Tourism KwaZulu-Natal Occasional Paper No. 35 August 2005
1. Introduction
The management of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal have decided to issue occasional papers to the tourism trade on the core findings of its research and other projects. The purpose of these papers is to stimulate more debate regarding the findings or progress of such projects as well as to ensure wider awareness of key research findings. The purpose of this paper is to provide an introduction to and a case study of agritourism. You can download an electronic version of this paper at Please note that you will need an Adobe Acrobat reader to do so. These readers can be downloaded free of charge at An MS Word version can also be downloaded at 2. Background Tourists have become and are still becoming more sophisticated, experienced and demanding. Improvements in services and facilities servicing this industry are paramount. Tourism behavior and desires have also changed since the days of the original Grand Tour, and today there are fewer world trips to each of the major European countries, fewer month-long holidays at the beach, too. Changes in the work ethic and in the use of time have contributed strongly to this situation. Less time to play, but more money to be able to afford it, and a serious need for the opposite to a sedentary use of time, too, has meant a change not only in where people go, but in what they do when they get there. The ‘new’ tourists seek an experience, not a view, a partaking in the excitement involved with any of a range of activities, not the taking of a photograph. In other words, the tourist requires to be a part of the tourism destination, even for a very short time, rather than an observer, and to ‘take it home’ as an integral part of themselves – more of the ‘I’ve done it’, rather than the ‘I’ve seen it’ (Kohler: 2004). Land issues have also come to the fore during the recent Provincial and National Land Summit. There are urgent calls for the redistribution of land to be speeded up. Agricultural land is also the target of the offerings of game farming as opposed to cattle or other stock farming due to stock theft and perceived higher returns from another industry on agricultural land. There is also the cost/price and associated issues in finding markets for products. This results in farmers needing to augment their income. One of the options for increased income from agricultural land is that of agritourism.
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4. Definition Agricultural Tourism refers to the act of visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural or agribusiness operation for the purpose of enjoyment, education, or active involvement in the activities of the farm or operation. Rural Tourism is a recreational experience involving visits to rural settings or rural environments for the purpose of participating in or experiencing activities, events or attractions not readily available in urbanized areas. These are not necessarily agricultural in nature. (you need to add in a suitable reference for the definition of agritourism such as that of the WTO or WTTC or whoever, plus then list that reference at the end with all the other references) There are also different variations of the agritourism concept. These are: Certified Farmers' Market (CFM): A location approved by the local authority, where certified farmers offer for sale only those certified agricultural products they grow themselves. Other agricultural and non-agricultural products may be sold at the markets depending on regulations and market rules. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA): Partnership between consumers and farmers in which consumers pay for farm products in advance and farmers commit to supplying sufficient quantity, quality and variety of products. This type of arrangement can be initiated by the farmer (farmer directed) or by a group of consumers (participatory). Direct Marketing: Any marketing method whereby farmers sell their products directly to consumers. Examples include roadside stands, farm stands, U-pick operations, community supported agriculture or subscription farming, farmers' markets, etc. Farm Stays: The activity of visiting a farm for overnight stays and for the purpose of participating in or enjoying farm activities and/or other attraction offered. Farm Visits: The activity of visiting a farm for short periods of time for the purpose of participating in or enjoying farm activities and/or other attraction offered. Roadside Stands: Also known as farm stands, refers to any activity where the farmer sells agricultural and value added products from his farm directly to consumers at a stand or kiosk located on or near his farm or along a road near the farm. U-Pick or Pick-Your-Own Operations: These are fruits and farms or orchards where the customers themselves harvest the fruits or products. The prices they pay for the volume harvested will be usually higher than what the grower would get from a broker.

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Rent-a-Tree Operations: These are arrangements where customers rent or lease trees from farmers. The consumers pay the farmer at the beginning of the season, the farmer takes care of the trees and either the farmer or the customer will do the harvesting. Value-Added: Any activity or process that allows farmers to retain ownership and that alters the original agricultural product or commodity for the purpose of gaining a marketing advantage. Value-added may include bagging, packaging, bundling, precutting, etc. (Lobo) These definitions are based on USA experiences. The practice of agritourism in an organised system occurs largely in the USA and Europe, including Britain.

5. Agritourism around the World In some regions of North America and Europe agritourism is well developed and attracts large numbers of tourists (how well-developed, proved by what, and how many tourists, and where, plus a reference). The British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, as well as the Ministry of Small Business, Tourism and Culture recognize the benefits to be gained from agritourism (Williams et al 2001). In Alberta, Canada, there are over 200 farm-based agritourism businesses according to Williams. Over and above this, there are approximately 120 approved Farmers’ Markets and over 160 market gardeners and fruit growers in operation. The Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Department coordinates agritourism development. Ontario has a wide and innovative set of agritourism products and services that is available to travelers. These include guided tours, visits to restaurants, museums and venues related to the production of agricultural products. Many of these tours are themed around animals and certain products like sheep or cheese or apples. In the US, according to Travel Industry Association of America, 87 million individuals have taken a trip to a rural destination between 1999 and 2003. Many state governments have realised the important direct marketing and agritourism for raising revenue for farmers and rural tourism operators. Hawaii Agricultural statistics indicate that the value of agritourism-related activities was US$33.9million in 2003. Income from Vermont agritourism was US$19.5million in 2002. In Australia, agritourism has become one of the most sought after “Aussie Experiences” for inbound visitors. In the year ending December 2003, 304,434 international tourists visited a farm while in Australia, along with 1.145 million domestic tourists (ref?).

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In the United Kingdom, agritourism and other forms of on-farm diversification have grown into an increasing requirement for financial stability. About one third of all farm businesses are engaged in non-traditional agricultural enterprises.

6. Agritourism in KwaZulu-Natal There may be a niche market for "farm" style accommodation that s peace and quiet, rustic accommodation, personal contact, simple activities and a connection to agrarian roots in South Africa. However, agritourism does not seem to be organised as yet, nor does it seem that there is a government supported programme in place. There are rural areas and farms that practice this type of activity in South Africa and agricultural and rural shows are held regularly. An example of these is the Royal Agricultural Show. However, KwaZulu-Natal offers good combinations of experiences. The Midlands Meander is one such destination. The Midlands Meander has grown into an eclectic and fascinating mix of arts and crafts, world-class restaurants and homely comforts, with a wide range of sporting, environmental and historical pursuits thrown in too. A popular activity in the Eston area is strawberry picking. This activity can include rides and picnicking for the family. These are, in essence, agritourism experiences or activities. The East Griqualand farms are used for other activities especially trout fishing, hiking, 4X4 driving and farm activities, with accommodation ranging from comfortable lodges to dormitory style for groups. A link to East Griqualand can be found here: (why is this here? What is the point of the link? What can be found there that relates to your topic?) You need to provide some sort of quantification of agritourism in KZN here. 7. Benefits of Agritourism Various organisations and linkages relating to agritourism can be formed locally. These linkages can include tourism organisations, farmers, crafters, local government etc. The benefits of these organisations working together can be to promote a wide range of businesses that are producing goods in a rural region. These benefits can be linked to the farmer, the local community and the region as a whole. It is the function of local government to create an atmosphere for economic growth in their respective municipalities. You need to link this idea to your topic otherwise it makes little sense as to why is exists here. These organisations can benefit from marketing together and not just as individuals. It is often easier to lobby government for assistance, be it financial or in terms of capacity building, as a collective organisation rather than as individuals. Brochures can be produced that can be made available in local tourist offices,a nd which promote agritourism.

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Linkages can be made with other attractions in the area, like games reserves, heritage sites, battlefields etc. A rural tourism concept, as seen in the definition above, can be applied here. The benefits accruing to the region and its inhabitants from practice of agritourism can be significant. 7. Conclusion In England, the agritourism system exists in its most organized form and is highly popular. “While the farm B&B seemed to be the most profitable venture I observed in my travels and interviews with farmers in England, many farmers operated other combinations of ventures, such as farm shops, historic gardens, wildlife or farm animal parks, and pick your own establishments” (Rilla, 1997). The dominant market for farm attractions is local day visits by families with children and organized school groups. Many rural areas have created initiatives for producer groups, artisans, and crafts people as described previously. Agritourism is by no means a panacea for all farms looking for additional income. In fact, it may only be an option for a handful of farm families, and it supplements the farm income but does not replace it (Ellen Rilla). As indicated, when looking at other countries around the world, agritourism is one way that can help significantly to supplement the income derived from farming. South Africa has the product to offer, but the organisation and support from government seems to be lacking. As more and more people leave rural areas to settle in urbanised environments, so does the rural area become a sought-after experience for the tourist. KwaZulu-Natal has the offering that neatly fits into the definition of agritourism. However, this is not marketed, and the focus seems to be on other activities like hiking, fishing, and arts and crafts, in areas such as East Griqualand. A number of questions may be asked of the successful marketing of agritourism. Are people who visit these establishments aware that they are participating in a form of agritourism? Is there a market for agritourism? Is there a need to market agritourism as a niche area, or is it better to simply continue marketing the destinations and activities as they are doing presently? Research needs to be done to determine the demand for such a product as well as on what is already available in the market place in KwaZulu-Natal to satisfy that demand. References: (you need to list these here)

o0o Please forward any comments regarding this paper to: Wayne Tifflin Researcher
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Fax: (031) 301 1763

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