Governments can build credibility over time through consistent commitment to implementing policies efficiently and effectively. South Africa hasn’t done well on this score. As a result of the poor record of policy implementation, investors and the general public have become sceptical of government policy pronouncements.
The consolidation has allowed farmers to take advantage of economies of scale as they compete with global players in the agricultural and food markets. For this reason, the misleading statement is often made that the number of SA “farmers” is declining. In fact, it is not necessarily the number of farmers, but the number of farming units, that has been reduced through consolidation. Even so, there are still many small family farms that sustain the food system in rural SA.
The Eastern Cape has agricultural and agro-processing potential but simultaneously a significant challenge of rising poverty and unemployment. This makes a perfect case for policymakers to move with interventions within their reach that would improve the province’s economic conditions.
Efficient logistical systems are a precursor to economic success and should be the focus of policymakers and various industry role players.
The 2021 Africa Agriculture Status Report – “A Decade of Action: Building Sustainable and Resilient Food Systems in Africa” is now available online. Great honour to be part of the team that worked on it.