The agricultural sector, a key player in the economic reconstruction of South Africa – Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa said the agricultural sector has the potential to be a key driver on South Africa’s road to economic reconstruction and recovery.

Ramaphosa was addressing the annual general meeting of the Bonsmara Breeders’ Society on Tuesday.

During the last quarter of 2021, the agricultural sector, boosted by increased production of field crops, horticulture and animal products, recorded the strongest growth, rising from at least R114 billion to the third quarter of 2021 to 127 billion rand in the fourth quarter.

The president also referenced the importance of the agricultural sector in his State of the Nation address in February.

Ramaphosa said the agricultural sector has significant potential for job creation in crops.

“The agricultural sector has also recognized the importance of supporting smallholder farmers and integrating them into value chains.

Ramaphosa also said that the establishment of the Agriculture Development and Agrarian Reform Agency will be finalized this year.

He acknowledged that although the sector is showing constant signs of improvement, there are still challenges that are hampering its growth.

Ramaphosa also spoke at the Buy Local Summit and Expo, saying it was a valuable opportunity to raise awareness and further appreciate the benefits and transformative power of buying local.

“Local production is important because it fosters national pride in the goods, services and products that are produced on our own soil. It supports small business growth and large business expansion.

Ramaphosa said local production supports the manufacturing sector and enables the country to build much-needed infrastructure and improve services.

Meanwhile, the South African Agriculture Industry Association (AgriSA) has sounded the alarm amid the war unfolding in Europe between Russia and Ukraine, warning that food prices could skyrocket in South Africa if the government does not act quickly.

AgriSA said fuel taxes should be suspended to give farmers some semblance of relief, while preparing them and consumers for soaring global food prices.

Chief Economist at Agri SA, Kulani Siweya implored the government to take “urgent action”, especially for smallholder farmers.

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Lana T. Arthur