With South Africa battling the worst drought in decades, Standard Bank this week urged farmers to take a longer-term view and plan beyond the prolonged crisis that has cost the industry some R16-billion to date.
South Africa head of agribusiness Nico Groenewald on Wednesday emphasised the importance of shaping the industry into a social and financial “investment vehicle” capable of driving positive change at national and regional levels.
“It is time for farmers to look at the work they do as a type of investment vehicle [rather] than purely as a tactical, operational exercise undertaken season by season,” he said, adding that farmers needed to plan beyond the drought.
This, in turn, would shift agriculture into the domain of social investment, where investment would be pursued for more equitable societal functions based on input, as well as on financial return.
“New agricultural strategies are giving rise to upstream and downstream business opportunities in which conventional investors can be persuaded to take a stake,” he explained.
This opened up opportunities for farmers to either create investment opportunities or participate in them and gain a share of the value chain upside.
“It also enables them to influence the direction in which agriculture evolves and, thereby, how effectively it serves both farmers and humanity,” Groenewald concluded.