A push to develop black commercial farmers in South Africa

Mike Mlengana, director-general of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), wants to see 500 black South African farmers engaged in the [commercial] production of quality agricultural produce in the next three years.

Mlengana and his team reported last week to the parliamentary portfolio committee for agriculture, forestry and fisheries, on the department’s current progress.

He said that eight small-scale black owned farms had been certified according to the South African Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to improve their market access.

Useful connections and networks had been set up to encourage a long-term relationship with the Middle East, as a potential export market for South African agricultural produce, and in the second quarter, a profile of agricultural goods suitable for export to Kuwait was constructed.  Kuwait has potential as a market for SA farmers because the country has a limited agricultural sector due to a shortage of water and arable land.

Mlengana said that export to other African countries was a further trade possibility that needed closer attention, and that it made sense for SA to export winter produce to equatorial African countries.

Poultry scheme

DAFF had identified 109 farmers as participants in the department’s poultry scheme, aimed at boosting productivity. Mlengana said this was a scheme that could  help farmers to prepare for commercial production. There were markets, like hotels, that could ensure sustainable growth for egg production, he said.

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