Farms must help Africa
We need policies to unlock our human potential.
With a history of apartheid, for understandable reasons existing agricultural policy dynamics not just from the government but from other political parties have to be respected. Especially if we live in a country with abundance and we have a growing block of our people who are still trapped in poverty and malnutrition.
At the same time, the government, despite receiving huge criticism, must be given credit for the fact that they have managed to negotiate with commercial farmers a road to date which have not resulted in total chaos.
Similar positive constraints have to be acknowledged when assessing the commercial farmers’ track record in this regard, especially against the background of farm attacks. Assessing crimes against farmers and workers a person has to take into account that it is not necessary in excess of the general crime levels in South Africa. What is however the most disturbing factor is the absolute brutality and senseless killings that farm crimes involve.
b) However the truth is simply this:-
Firstly from a South African point
- Nonproductive wage demands,
- 50/50 talks and
- farm worker evictions
is simply not a sustainable model.
Worst of all the current situation similar as the mining situation are currently being exploited through adverse media.
Most importantly:- if we experienced an agricultural Marikana it will take SA a very long time to recover and the cost will be enormous.
Not just in money terms but in life quality. And the total investment confidence not just in agriculture but in South Africa as a whole will suffer great consequences.
c) Secondly from an Africa and South Africa
SA and Africa can no longer afford historical driven agricultural policies, the policies needs to be future directed.
With one central focus,
- It must assist our people to break malnutrition,
- poverty, and
- increase our value adding output,
- Upgrade our service sectors and
- result in a knowledge economy sector.
In simple terms, the only workable policies are nonracial, nonpolitical; future directed policies.
An agreement therefore has to be reached in which the commercial farmers starts to:-
- reinvest in agriculture,
- collaborate with our communities to alleviate malnutrition, and
at the same time assist our emerging farmers to contribute to the overall food basket.
d) Why for Africa?
Why the government needs to launch a social accord that accelerates agricultural development.
Already in 97 President Thabo Mbeki with regards to he’s statements on AIDS, pointed out that poverty is a key factor and that malnutrition is the primary course.
There is no doubt Africa is making progress and many people recognize that Africa is the next frontier market.
However the success stories currently has great difficulty in supporting the broader Africa human drivers and dynamics.,
- The population will increase from 900 million to well over 1,300 billion (Bigger than China or India) within fifteen years. This is an additional 400 million people. Or put differently, adding two new countries like Nigeria to Africa. All who will require food from the current agricultural resources.
The primary driver here is that Africa has the highest population under the age of thirty.
- But despite the successes malnutrition has increased in Sub-Sahara.
f) The seriousness is highlighted by the following:-
1) Despite substantial investment in agriculture and growth in agriculture the agricultural output is leveling off.
2) Many regions in Sub-Sahara already have to import food, directly undermining growth.
3) Urbanization demands higher agricultural output, worst of all, urbanization in Africa will drastically increase.
4) Small farmers will always be an integral part of agriculture. However, with a growing urban population the percentage contribution of commercial farmers has become a key factor in those regions where poverty and malnutrition are decreasing.
5) SA’s commercial farming sector from suppliers, farmers, farm workers, processors and distributors are currently in Sub-Sahara the only block of farmers that can meet this future demand.
6) Secondly, proactive future directed strategies by the government can turn this sector into an export driver. And ultimately is the key in unlocking Africa.
Agriculture needs to accelerate
Commercial farmers need to commit themselves to a broader picture than just farming:-
- A picture of collaboration to assist to build both the South African emerging farmers and Africa’s farming output.
- Government and political parties in South Africa needs to manage the cornerstone sectors of the economy such as mining and agriculture within a framework of global competitiveness.
- At the same time mining companies and commercial farmers needs to go the extra mile to contribute to the development of our human capital.
h) The bottom line is simply, South Africa and Africa can break poverty through:-
Future directed strategies,
- that makes sense both from an international investors perspective,
- provide investment confidence,
- encouraging people with knowhow to participate and
- Provide policies that are based on our human capital.
Simply, Agri2000 believe that our people do have the potential to succeed and take their rightful place as proud global citizens.