Farm organizations attending the Nampo-Harvest Day expo in Bothaville, Free State, are ambivalent about the new agriculture and agribusiness master plan. Minister Thoko Didiza is happy with the program, but not all stakeholders are.
While AgriSA signed the document, TLU-SA did not. The plan aims to ensure increased cooperation between the agricultural sector and the government.
The Agriculture, Agro-Industry Masterplan aims to transform the sector and address issues of infrastructure, food security and support for local farmers.
It also aims to help more than 20 value chains reach their full potential. AgriSA Director Christo van der Rheede says the organization was involved in drafting the document.
“Our role was to identify the risks because there were radical plans that were put on the table, and we had to make sure that those plans didn’t end up being part of the plan. But especially since the plan has focused on issues important to food security like roads, infrastructure, farmer safety, expanding markets and ensuring farmers get the support they need. Also take care of farmers and support farmers who want to be part of the sector. »
Escalating food and fuel prices are having a negative impact on the agricultural sector in South Africa:
Van der Rheede says the priority now is to implement the Agriculture and Agricultural Transformation Master Plan and ensure that the targets are not undermined. The government is an important actor but lacks essential resources.
“The government is to a large extent lacking competent people, and that is why we as a people have the opportunity to take on this role to a large extent. We can never take over the role of government, but we can play an important role in ensuring that the agenda remains clear and transparent and guarantees food security.
However, TLU-SA remains skeptical, with chief executive Bennie van Zyl saying the organization’s concerns have never been considered, despite having been brought forward at least eight times.
He says they fear the market will not be considered.
“In 2005 we presented a plan on how to help new farmers, to ensure that we do so on a sound, principled basis, which is economically driven because, ultimately, the principles of market are a decisive measure that will make sure who will be the farmer.
“If you succeed, you will be there, if not, you will not be there. It is our concern – that this principle is not taken into account in this plan. So we are now worried because it is an ideological plan, instead of an economic plan. -Report by Marlinée Fouché