From Ventures Africa
South Africa continues to play a leading, and vital, role in the African agriculture landscape. In this country, each farmer provides food for approximately 1 600 people. To put this in perspective, the average food provision ratio for the rest of Africa is closer to one farmer feeding 26 other people. And South Africa’s leadership position in this regard is set to become increasingly relevant and important as the world looks to Africa to play a bigger role in addressing global food security issues.
However, the ability of South Africa to capitalise on the opportunities this global shift presents will depend largely on the perspective in SA, and its agriculture stakeholders, take with regard to the growing number of challenges facing its agriculture industry as a whole. And there can be no denying that there are numerous challenges.
Insecurity relating to land reform remains a significant hindrance to investment and development as stakeholders in agriculture adopt a ‘wait and see’ attitude rather than investing capital into land or farming inputs.
Climate change is becoming a greater inhibitor of yields, as incidents of widespread droughts and floods play an ever-increasing role in crop choices and planting decisions of the country’s commercial farmers.
Also, a lack of coordination in terms of agriculture policies across most of the SADC countries, coupled with seemingly ad hoc import or export tariffs, or bans based on seasonal surplus or shortage of certain commodities, continue to inhibit the potential that exists for southern African countries to achieve the integration and collaboration required to raise the international expectations of the region’s agriculture sectors.
This combination of challenges, combined with growing security fears of South African farmers, has resulted in more than 2000 of these farmers moving their primary agriculture activities outside of this country’s borders – taking with them vast amounts of knowledge, experience and potential financial investment. While many of these farmers remain residents of South Africa and commute to their newly established farms in bordering countries, the reality is that they are no longer as committed as they may previously have been on developing agriculture in their home country – instead focusing more of their attention on developing the many opportunities they now enjoy outside of this country.
Read more at Ventures Africa