Two South African Ministers have called upon white farmers to lend a helping hand to emerging black farmers at a conference about transformation.
Senzeni Zokwana, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries used the example of Bobby Godsell, CEO of AngloGold, who was a mentor to Patrice Motsepe, mine magnate and currently one of the richest people in Africa.
“That is why I am calling on to white, commercial farmers so they can say: Here is a farmer that I equipped with knowledge. I put my money into his farm. We shared a journey. Today he can stand on his own feet.”
Lindiwe Zulu, Small Business Development Minister, who also addressed delegates at the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (Afasa) congress, said that it can’t be denied that most large scale farmers in the country is white, msotly due to the past.
She said that assets that are already established in South African agriculture should be looked after so the country is able to compete on a global scale.
For their own sustainability and survival these farmers should look into options helping other farmers.
While looking at Nono Sekhoto, chairperson of Afasa Youth, Zulu said: “There is a lot she can learn from older, white farmers.”
Both Zokwana and Zulu asked black farmers to do their part. Zokwana said a farmer can’t tend to his farm on weekends only and that black farmers should follow the lead of white farmers to exploit opportunities in Africa.
Former Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene also said that established partnerships between black and white farmers are needed to drive radical economic transformation in agriculture.
“Don’t take their experiences low. It can’t be ignored and we should find the right commercial farmers to form these partnerships with, since we don’t have the same level of practical experience of farmers farming for over 40 years.
“You can have all the textbook knowledge, but if you haven’t survived a drought nor have practical financial experience, you won’t survive. Therefore we need everybody in agriculture, both black and white.”