After a broad review of various initiatives aimed at instilling confidence in the agricultural sector overthe past four years, Sihlobo said there is a lot in the implementation pipeline for South Africa’s agriculturalpolicy this year. . These are ripe for implementation ahead of the 2024 elections.

“A key recent development is the launch of the Agriculture and Agro-Processing Master Plan, an initiativefor the government and private sector to grow the sector, build competitiveness, attract more investment andensure inclusiveness. It offers new opportunities,” he said.

The economist added that the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has concretelylaunched a blended instrument that has been in the works for several years.

“This is a joint initiative with Landbank and the goal is to expand participation from other funding agenciesto reach the scale needed to transform the sector. In various speeches, President Cyril Ramaphosaemphasized the launch of the Agricultural Development and Land Reform Agency headed by Minister TokoDidiza. In the past, these programs seemed like a pipe dream. Now they should be on the brink ofimplementation.

“There is a window for governments to show results in these areas because these areas are beyond policymaking and are ready for action. , maintain employment, and attract new investment,” said Sihlobo. Indeed,it may appear to some stakeholders that little progress has been made in all the above programs since thebeginning of the year.

Agricultural groups said the worsening power crisis was the main cause of the delay. It is hoped that thefindings of Didiza’s Agricultural Energy Task Team will soon be shared with the sector to provideguidance on practical short-term interventions to limit the damage of the crisis to energy-intensive farms.

“As actions to contain the energy crisis intensify, more energy will need to be expended on expandingblended funding to various other financial institutions and identifying other previously unforeseen fundinggaps. I have.

“During the implementation of various government programs, it is important to strengthen the relationshipbetween the government and the private sector, because without cooperation it is impossible to achievemeaningful results,” Agbiz said. For example, the success of agricultural and agro-processing masterplans depends on the availability of affordable financing for newfarmers and agro-processingentrepreneurs.”

The agricultural sector has been well positioned to benefit from favorable weather conditions in recentyears and has maintained positive growth momentum.

“It is important to build on that momentum to implement the above programs this year. Without someprogress, South Africa’s agriculture and agribusiness risks slipping into a lackluster growth trajectory in2024. said Sihlobo.

“The 2023/24 season brings challenges such as a potential El Niño-related drought that can deplete theenergy of the sector and put role players into ‘survival mode’. So we have the right conditions to implementthese quickly,” he said.

Meanwhile, Agri SA called on its budget speech (to be delivered tomorrow by Finance Minister EnokGodongwana) to include key interventions to protect local food security.

Agri SA CEO Christo van der Rheede said it was important for the minister to announce measures to protectthe country’s food security.

“Load dumping is the most immediate threat facing farmers in this country, so the Government iscommitted to protecting them from the worst impacts and promoting the sustainable production of food forthe benefit of all South Africans. We must decisively allocate resources to ensure that,” said van derRiede.


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