Opinion – Even if SA is struggling, agriculture will rise

By Nick Serfontein

Landbouweekblad reader Nick Serfontein of Edenville’s letter was received and adapted as follows. 

As a glass-half-full type of person, living in South Africa is a difficult feat. Yet, we are often reminded that having hope in life is not as dumb a strategy to follow as cynics would have you believe because there are many people in our country, especially our farmers, that work hard and sacrifice a lot with the intention to make a difference. 

Most of the past year or so has been exhausting for many and our trust in South Africa has been wrung dry. Every person experienced it in their own way. Economically speaking, we are but a small fish in a big pond. 

The world economy is not exactly inspiring and there are talks of a possible worldwide recession. South Africa’s risks appear clear in the views of the three big credit rating agencies, Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s (S&P) and Fitch Ratings.

There are, furthermore, no good stories to tell regarding our political landscape, which garners very little trust after the recent chaotic ANC conference. The only light at the end of the tunnel is that it could have gone worse.

From where do we draw our hope in a country that has so little left to give then? Surely not from our political arena. Only the national election in 2024 can bring about a favourable change in South Africa

Mother Teresa said: “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Our country is full of people, including those in our farming communities, who see these ripples, seize them and turn them into waves. These are the people who step in when the state fails. They are the heroes, and there are many of them. When I wake up in the morning, I tell myself: “Today is the first day of the rest of my life and I have to make a difference, however small it may be.”

Despite confidence in agriculture falling sharply over the past two quarters, the sector is still in a good place, because the factors that dampened confidence are self-inflicted factors, as well as external factors that we did not expect. Think, for example, of Ukraine, Covid-19 in China, Eskom and South Africa’s other infrastructure.

Despite all the factors that are against us, I foresee that agriculture in South Africa will rise again in the next year and will continue to prove that no country can exist without its farmers. Is it possible? If we say it’s impossible, then it is. If we say it’s possible, then it is.

The only difference between possible and impossible is between our ears. May the grace of our Heavenly Father who measures out each year, who holds us and the creation in His hands and who makes everything new, be with each of us for the rest of 2023.

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