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.
With the current fiscal constraints, the rebuilding process will likely have to be led by private sector players as the state has the limited financial muscle to do so. And this is where the challenge begins.
South Africa’s agricultural sector has not, in the recent past, had a season as good as the current one. This is evident from the Agbiz/IDC Agribusiness Confidence Index (ACI), which in the second quarter of this year reached a record high (since its inception in 2001) of 75, from 64 in the first quarter of 2021.
German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner has welcomed the possibility of looser restrictions on genetically engineered crops as an “overdue modernization” of EU policy. She is right – and it is not only Europe that needs to rethink its approach.