a) Food and growth
When assessing Bio–industrial agriculture the main concern is that the food cost will increase because producers will focus on more lucrative non-food crops. These concerns need to be taken into account but throughout all these concerns can be managed.
- First Bio–industrial agriculture is not new, forestry for housing, paper and poppies for morphine. These are the obvious applications. But this is just so because it was developed historically.
There are many other applications which are less known. For example, in 1945 the Ford Company produced the first car of which all the panel’s was manufactured from agricultural produce.
- The truth is that despite nearly a doubling of agricultural output over the past 30 years. For not just food, but also other Bio industrial applications as well, the cost of food has constantly reduced at farm level.
Food price increases have primarily be driven through market conditions.
But let we be very clear, the directing of the application of arable land use will always and should always be a people’s decision, based on the prevailing circumstances.
b) The future
There is virtually not a natural mineral resource that is not reducing due to usage. Furthermore most of the current mining operations are high carbon contributors. Both these two factors, that of availability and carbon are “non-environmental”.
Against this agricultural produce is a renewable resource.
- To date due to a number of factors this has never been formulated within a broad long-term economic strategy.
- Taking into account that the Agri2000 program was initiated specifically as a result of the intention to seek renewable housing resources with a low carbon footprint.
The introduction of a broad agricultural growth strategy underpinned through Bio-industrial produce was a natural progression.
However, the true driver for the introduction of the agricultural accelerated strategy was not driven by the aforementioned but by the question of food availability, cost and food quality in Africa.
- Secondly, we have to take into account that a large block of our current population’s basic skills is that of labor.
Downstream agricultural produce processing provides a growth path for our people.
Agricultural downstream processing provides high value adding work opportunities as opposed to primary agricultural low value adding farm work.
Furthermore employment levels on farms including small holding farm operations have been declining.
c) Bio-industrial agriculture is simply the economies of the future.
- It provides value adding downstream job opportunities.
- It is environmental friendly and earthbound.
- It increases market flexibility to regulate food prices.
- It provides a growth path for people with low knowledge economic skills to enter value adding markets.
In short, integrated Bio-industrial food and agriculture is the future power economies.
Because the future agricultural produces processing provides a growth of value adding and knowledge economic activities.
The spectrum and growth areas in which job creation opportunities can be unlocked are endless.
At the same time, it provides an opportunity for Africa’s leadership to develop in what we firmly believe, will be the future economic balancing factor between high carbon activities and low carbon activities, namely that of a broad based food, bio-industrial sector.
This strategy can be utilized and deployed by the poorest of the poorest nations, the smallest of the smallest nations.
A good example of this is Lesotho. It has the resources to be one of the highest GDP per capita and live quality countries. Yet its people is trapped in poverty.
A broad base agricultural strategy and collaborative partnership with our commercial farmers holds a golden key, for example to unlock Lesotho’s potential..