While some farmers in the grains and oilseeds industry benefited from the unusually long period of large yields and higher prices, higher input costs since the start of 2020 have limited the benefits.
To understand the real challenges of farmers, it is necessary to spend a considerable amount of time on the ground talking to farmers and getting a better feel of the markets.
Ahead of this conference, the ANC released policy discussion papers, one of which noted that “agriculture remains an important sector of the SA economy. It holds the potential to uplift many poor South Africans out of poverty through increased food production, vibrant economic activity and job creation”.
While farmers were able to manage the rising feed costs in the past two years to an extent, the current season has presented new challenges — a vast outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease as well as continued occurrences of swine flu and avian flu outbreaks.
The Chinese National Crop Variety Approval Committee released two standards that clear the path for cultivating genetically modified crops in the country. This has been the missing piece in the regulations for the commercial growing of genetically modified maize and soybeans in China.
The latest policy discussion document published by the African National Congress (ANC) presents a positive change from the ambiguous agriculture policy the South African governing party has maintained in the recent past.
Few things rekindle the spirit of optimism more than seeing a vibrant gathering of industry stakeholders showcasing new technologies and product solutions to boost the productivity and growth of a sector.
What to make of South Africa’s Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Budget Vote Speech and Master Plan Launch?
These are not perfect plans by any stretch but are better than no plans. Perhaps, the better way of viewing the documents is through the lens of “better is good”, which means having a policy document that is better than a current position is good, to an extent.