To understand the real challenges of farmers, it is necessary to spend a considerable amount of time on the ground talking to farmers and to get a better feel of the markets. In such engagements in the last week of August 2022, one theme that came up time and again in most discussions with role players in the sector, is the need for the diversification of the export markets to non-traditional regions while retaining the sector’s foothold in key markets such as the European Union. Other issues that keep farmers sitting up and scratching their heads at night are the need to improve logistics – roads, rail and ports; expansion of agricultural finance, particularly developmental finance or flexible finance products for the new entrant farmers, and strengthening of trust between government and the industry. In this week’s segment, agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo takes a deeper look on these aspects and reflects on his recent engagements with farmers across South Africa.
Published: 29 August 2022