SA Wants Agricultural Sector to Grow

Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, says the government has an interest in ensuring the agricultural sector is profitable.

Speaking at the end of a ‘dialogue’ with farmers and commercial farming organisations in the Western Cape town of Paarl, Motlanthe pointed out that, “As government, we have an interest in ensuring the industry becomes profitable and continues to grow."

He further stressed the importance of the farming sector remaining competitive internationally.

Farm Attacks and Farm Murders Remain a Concern

The ongoing scourge of criminal attacks on the farming community in South Africa and the accompanying range of violent crimes such as murder, rape and robbery remain a controversial issue. On the one hand there are those who argue that farmers are more at risk of being targeted by violent criminals than the average citizen. This includes those who represent organised agriculture. Some go as far as claiming that there is a political motive behind these attacks, with the objective of forcing white farmers off the land.

Govt Gives Farmers Five Years to Get it Right

Rural Development and Land Reform Minister, Gugile Nkwinti, has urged black farmers who received land through the government’s various redistribution and restitution programmes to enter into a formal performance contract with the state.

Addressing a two-day recapitalisation and development evaluation workshop in Boksburg, Nkwinti, who explained the terms and conditions of the contracts, explained that the contracts will enable them to obtain resources and expert advice to help them become successful farmers.

Young Farmers Beat Youth Unemployment through Agriculture

Youth unemployment is a serious challenge in South Africa (SA). In 2011, nearly half of 18-35 year olds were unemployed. Many young people have given up hope of ever finding work.

Agriculture is often dismissed as an option for young people. Many in South Africa claim that youth simply are not interested in agriculture. Our experience says different.

NGO Project Focuses on Coffee Growers

Environment, Human Rights Care and Gender Organisation (ENVIROCARE) has established a project with the aim of enabling coffee growers and their families to actively participate in environmental conservation through organic farming.

According to the Project Manager, Grace Murunji, if the project succeeds then poverty and environmental degradation will be reduced through adoption of organic farming practices by next year.

US$4 Million Earmarked for Small-Holding Farmers

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), headed by former United Nations secretary-general, Kofi Annan, has earmarked an initial US$4 million to support small-holding farmer groups in four African countries, out of which Ghana will get US$900 000.

In line with the support, AGRA launched the maiden Farmer Organisation Support Centre (FOSCA) in Ghana to set the tone for small-holding farmers who belong to recognisable and thriving farmer groups to benefit from AGRA grants and technical support under the FOSCA initiative.

Small Scale Agriculture

Small-scale agriculture is the production of crops and livestock on a small-piece of land without using advanced and expensive technologies. Though the definition of size of these farms is a source of debate, it can be argued that farming on family pieces of land, on traditional lands and smallholdings on the periphery of urban areas, fall in this category. This type of farming is usually characterised by intensive labour and in most cases, animal traction, limited use of agrochemicals and supply to the local or surrounding markets.

Smartphones Could Help Small-Scale Farmers

A new study commissioned by Vodafone has found that small-scale farmers in emerging economies could save billions by using smartphones for banking, to get vital farm-related information and to gain market access.

The survey, run in conjunction with Accenture and Oxfam, found that farmers could access information such as weather warnings, commodity prices and planting tips.

Accenture strategy director, Grant Hatch, emphasises that upping production by small-scale farmers in Africa, South America and Asia is essential to secure the world's future food supply.

Government Spells Out Land Reform Target

Land Reform Minister, Gugile Nkwinti, has spelled out government's 2014 land reform target.

Nkwinti says that government wants to transfer 30 percent of the 82 million hectares of agricultural land ‘presumed to be in the hands of white commercial farmers’ by 2014.

When Zuma referred in his address to a figure of only 8.2 percent of this land having been transferred to date, he was talking about 8.2 percent of the 82 million hectares.

Government to Train Farmers

The government will train more than 2 000 small farmers over the next year in cost-effective farming methods.

According to documents tabled with the 2012/13 Budget in Parliament, the Estimates of the National Expenditure says that the farmers will also be advised, by the department of rural development and land reform on which crops to plant.


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