This study examined whether the Eastern Cape province’s district municipalities are on course to achieve local and regional goals of improving agricultural production and reducing poverty. Results show significant strides towards locally set targets and high uncertainty in meeting the regional targets. Out of seven district municipalities, five municipalities are still about 5% points below the designated 10% of the annual budget to agriculture, and only three district municipalities scored more that the set 6% agricultural growth rate. All the seven district municipalities are not in a position to meet the target of 7% economic growth rate. Econometric simulations using the Hodrick-Prescott filter on data dating from 1995 to 2010 shows that all the seven district municipalities are off-track the set millennium development Goal 1 target with one even retrogressing from that goal. Failure to significantly reduce poverty is largely attributed to the province’s failure to boost agricultural production which is an outcome of low and inefficient public expenditure management, inconsistent and misaligned policies. Regional policies should be built on local policies to bring in the desired impact on local development. This study made a strong case for frequent independent evaluation of set goals.
Key words: Agricultural productivity, growth, poverty.
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