The agricultural sector plays a vital role in South Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan. This was the message of President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered by the Minister of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, during the Agri SA 2022 Congress which started in Pretoria on Thursday 13 October.
His message underscored the need to grow the economy through strengthening local value chains, noting that this was why the government was working to address backlogs in terms of issuing water user permits. water, improving biosecurity, as well as addressing road, railway and port infrastructure challenges.
“This year, South Africa was able to post its largest current account surplus since 1987, and agriculture [performance] was one of the main reasons for this trade surplus.
Meanwhile, in his address, Jaco Minnaar, Chairman of Agri SA, reiterated that agriculture remains the gatekeeper and catalyst for economic growth and development of rural communities.
However, Minnaar stressed that the country must start implementing the Agriculture and Agribusiness Master Plan through a concrete action plan, with fixed deadlines and, above all, with the collaboration of all stakeholders in the sector.
“We have to make sure that happens. There are still issues that need to be sorted out and refined, but we have a very good framework and a very good strategy to work from.
Farmers must increase their capacity to produce surpluses in order to play a greater role in exports, he added.
“Higher-value export products, such as fruits, attract foreign capital which can stimulate the local economy and create opportunities for growth. For example, the agricultural trade surplus for 2021 was around R80.4 billion; most of this income returns to rural communities where it creates jobs and provides an economic influx. »
Minnaar added that high levels of local production and exports could contribute significantly to South Africa’s ability to curb local food price inflation relative to the rest of the world.