How have South Africa's economic planners managed to ignore, or at least to minimise the relevance of the most salient facts about the economic performance of the agricultural sector, as well as the real experience of, and prospects for, millions of desperately deprived women and men living in rural areas? There are, of course, many possible strategies to promote polite fictions and buttress conspiracies of silence. The first section of this paper focuses on two particular techniques used 'to write a new story' in the National Development Plan's brief chapter on rural development (NPC 2011: Chapter 6).
The second section outlines the failure of the post-apartheid state to take advantage of the potential contribution of the agricultural sector, especially to expand exports. The aim of this section is to highlight some extremely adverse investment and production trends - the elephants in the rondawel - so easily ignored when wearing the NDP's ideological blinkers.