Transformation and diversity critical for SA’s agriculture

WhyAfrica is in Bothaville in the Free State province of South Africa this week to get our finger on the pulse of the country’s massive agriculture industry. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Transformation and diversity critical for SA’s agriculture   

Transformation, diversity, food security, job creation and sustainability, have been key focus areas in discussions this week at Nampo about the future of South Africa’s agriculture sector. Nampo is Africa’s largest agricultural show and one of the largest agricultural exhibitions in the southern hemisphere.  

The agricultural sector has been one of the stars of the South African economy, growing at a rate of 13,1% in 2020 and 8,3% in 2021. It’s an incredible contribution to a country that is struggling with subdued economic growth, unemployment, and poverty.

“The sector has an immense role to play in dealing with these challenges and contributing to a better future for all South Africans,’ says John Hudson, Nedbank’s National Head of Agriculture.

‘Nampo offers an opportunity for the industry to focus on issues that impact the sector and to find solutions that will contribute to sustainable inclusive growth in the future. The 2022 event themes focussed on transformation, food security, sustainability, climate change and the sector’s response thereto in a post-Covid-19 landscape.

“Transformation, inclusivity and diversity are critical to the country and the sector,” adds Hudson. “The level of black-producer participation remains unacceptably low and this, together with food security, job creation and sustainability, are key focus areas going forward, forming the core of the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan. This, however, needs to be done on the back of a vibrant, internationally competitive and sustainable sector,” he says.

On Monday, 16 May, Nedbank hosted a Nation in Conversation event titled ‘Transforming the Agric Landscape’, with panellists from Nedbank, Grain SA (Dr Dirk Strydom) and award-winning woman farmer, Mbali Nwoko.

Agents for change

“I want to empower others, inspire them, and connect and engage with people who want to be positive change agents in the global community,” says Nwoke, the enterprising founder of Green Terrace – a hydroponic farm that produces sweet peppers under multi-span greenhouse tunnels for leading retailers and other food processors. “My venture into farming is one of the greatest achievements in my life,” she adds.

Hudson says Nedbank believes that, as part of a wider approach to transformation, creating opportunity through transformative approaches to farming will also allow women in the sector to realise their potential and expand into commercially viable enterprises.

The Nedbank stand at Nampo was a hive of activity throughout the week. “As money experts committed to doing good, we are passionate about working with our clients and helping them grow their agricultural businesses because we understand the critical role that agriculture plays in the economy,” says Hudson.

As a wrap-up after Nampo 2022 and with an eye on the future, Nedbank will be hosting a webinar called ‘A look at Nampo 2022 – in the field with the experts’, on 26 May 2022.

For more information about Nation in Conversation visit. www.nationinconversation.co.za

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