Nono Sekhoto-Iga, the Managing Director and founder of Growthshoot, a leading agri-business, says new farmers will thrive if they receive proper support, as well as access to finance and markets.
Sekhoto-Iga, who also heads up the youth wing of the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (Afasa), participated in a live TV discussion with Deon van der Ross, the Executive Manager: Corporate Marketing and Retail at VKB, on SABC2’s flagship show, Morning Live.
“The negativity (around farming) really comes from the results that we see today based on the plans we had when we first got into the new dispensation with regards to our country,” Sekhoto-Iga told TV Presenter Leanne Manas. “The idea was to transform the industry from it being dominated by white and big commercial farmers who are doing very well, and allowing new, black farmers to enter the space and also thrive.”
Van der Ross agreed with Manas that most South Africans underestimate agriculture’s contribution to the economy. He said, “We need to realise that we feed about 55 million people on a daily basis. Our challenge is to educate the nation of the importance of the sector, and ultimately the importance of the farmer. If we can do that, we can develop a better country. The farmers’ contribution to this country is massive.”
Wandile Sihlobo, Agbiz’s Head of Agribusiness Research, earlier said the agricultural GDP rebounded on the third quarter of 2018, growing by 6.5% on a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised rate. He warns, however, that the recent uptick in agricultural GDP is no cause for celebration.
“We are not out of the woods yet. The recovery could well be temporary, and weak going forward as the weather outlook, which initially painted a positive outlook, proves to be a key challenge again for summer crop growing areas and could then negatively affect the performance of the agricultural sector in 2019. Having said that, the benefit of the recovery in the Western Cape’s weather conditions could provide a buffer in the sector in the first quarter of 2019. But, the overall annual performance will largely depend on weather conditions in the summer rainfall areas,” says Sihlobo.
Watch the full Morning Live interview here: