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Farmers, businesses, government pledge to work together

Farmers, businesses, government pledge to work together

Sep 23, 2013

The Agribizniz Summit took place at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg on 15 and 16 August 2013. The summit brought together government, thought leaders, decision-makers and business leaders in the Agricultural sector to discuss and champion thoughts on Food Security in the southern hemisphere.

The two day summit facilitated by seasoned broadcaster Peter Ndoro included panellist Chris Sturgess, JSE director; Herbert William Cloete, CEO Ububele Holdings; Zhann Meyer, regional head of Commodity Traders and Agriculture; and Sibusiso Dlamini – DDG: Food Security and Agrarian Reform.

Sibusiso Dlamini, DDG: Food Security and Agrarian Reform set the scene by stressing that commercial farmers and businesses alike should follow proper requirements in terms of accessing funding from banks such as Nedbank.

He highlighted, “That there’s a trend of neighbouring farmers who are investing in the country and this trend could impact on emerging farmers who are trying to make inroads within the agricultural sector.”

The conversation continued with Herbert William Cloete, CEO Ububele who pointed out that food resources in South Africa were at an acceptable level and that there is no cause for alarm at the moment regarding food shortages; however “he stressed that the increase in food is a concern to South Africans in general”.

The consensus was that currently there are more opportunities for emerging farmers in the agricultural industry and with trained skills the country will prosper with a high tech farming industry.

Chris Sturgess, JSE Director, reflected on this “that farmers should present their pricelist to broader audiences in effort to drive and create awareness for their produce”.

He clarified on the two scenarios of farmers from a financial point of view, namely Hedging Farmers, those who produce high volumes and are deemed reliable when opportunity arises.

They mostly excel in import and exports to neighbouring countries. The second latter was a Speculative Farmer, who misses out on opportunities and key investments. They are mostly ill informed of the economic trends taking place within the farming industry.

Delegates agreed and concluded that from a government perspective policies do exist, however the challenge lies in the implementation and execution of these policies.

They all acknowledged that for the industry to advance and compete on a global level, mentorships, incentive programmes and increased support from the government should be addressed and this included challenges faced around social structure and important policies.

In addition a call was made to all farmers to consolidate their interests around policies presented by the government and form a united federation representing all small, medium sized and commercial farmers which will drive effective relations with government.

Mahlatse Masimini, MD Moshate Media says, “Overall the summit was a great success and the fact that we were able to drive conversations and partnerships with government and the business community around farming, proves that there’s a still a long way to go for farmers to create conversations particularly in the southern hemisphere.”

Other companies represented included Land Bank. Pick n Pay. USAID, Botswana Investment and Trade Centre, Deloitte Agribusiness and South African Breweries, to name but a few.

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