When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, concern immediately arose that sub-Saharan Africa faced a potential worsening in food insecurity.
CNN International investigated the untapped potential of agriculture in Africa in its regular series Connecting Africa.
SA’s maize industry has enjoyed an astonishing improvement in yields since the adoption of genetically modified (GM) seeds in the 2000/2001 production season. Yields improved from an average of 2.8 tonnes per hectare in 2000/2001 to about 5.9 tonnes per hectare in the 2019/2020 production season.
Logistics will again be tested in 2021. SA is gearing up for another year of a large agricultural harvest and therefore large export volumes, especially in the horticulture and field crop subsectors.
Kenya still prohibits the importation and growing of genetically modified maize. This is a significant hindrance for South Africa as roughly 80% of maize grown in the country is genetically modified.
Policymakers and senior government officials should remember that effective communication is not “a nice to do” but an integral part of policy-making.
I worry that the purple patch might slow down for the agricultural machinery sales, not because of a drastic change in farmer finances (we expect a good crop in 2020/21 season). But the source of my pessimism is the cyclical nature of machinery sales.
The debate over amending section 25 has gone beyond the realm of agriculture as various other stakeholders have engaged with parliament. As the outcome is likely to have direct implications for the success of the department’s work programme, it would be prudent for parliament to consider the broader impact on the agricultural and other sectors of the economy while SA is in an economic reconstruction phase.
I recently joined Ms Vonnie Estes, Vice President of Technology, at The Produce Marketing Association to discuss the role of technology in boosting agriculture productivity in Africa and how growing more agricultural produce can help address unemployment on the Continent.
South Africa’s agriculture and land reform: How far are we from an integrated and inclusive rural economy?
Progress with South Africa’s land reform as per the National Development Plan has been underestimated and, while still slow, is closer to the 30% target than typically believed.