South African smallholder farmers are unhappy about the slow pace of land reform and support to farmers and want to discuss these issues.
The African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (AFASA) is the host for a conference on transformation in the agricultural sector from July 30 to August 1.
The theme of the conference is the commercialisation of black farmers.
In a statement, Dr Vuyo Mahlati, AFASA chairperson, said the groundbreaking conference is aimed at involving public and private interested parties to get a clear view of transformation in agriculture. The most important aim will be to highlight issues that hamper transformation.
“The conference is a platform to focus on the transformation attempts of public and private institutions. The conference will also look at investment strategies that promote an inclusive and competitive agricultural sector.”
What is successful practice?
She said the sector should also ask which practices were successful and what is not working.
“In the end, the aim of the conference is to have a cooperated approach towards transformation to create a viable and inclusive commercial farming sector and agribusinesses,” Mahlati said.
AFASA has cooperated with the National Agricultural Marketing Council and Agricultural Research Council to establish a centre of knowledge to support farmers.
“We also had strong involvement at several agricultural commodity organisations and understand that our work should catalyse these connections. We have to play an oversight role in terms of the pace of transformation and if it is rightful.”
Black and white
“We believe the issue of transformation is the responsibility of everyone, both black and white, men and women, young and old, public and private organisations. For South African agriculture to grow and be competitive globally, we must get it done and ensure that we don’t only focus on transformation,” she said.
Several well-known key players in agriculture are invited to the conference. They include the Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Gugile Nkwinti, Agricultural Minister Senzeni Zokwana, Tshokolo Petrus Nchocho from Land Bank and the previous Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene. Omri van Zyl from AgriSA, Bennie van Zyl from TLU SA, Dr Theo de Jager from the World Farmers’ Organisation and Aggrey Mahanjana from Nerpo are also invited to attend panel discussions.
The conference will be held in Boksburg.