http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.62Change: 0.13
R/$ = 10.98Change: -0.02
Au 1197.88 $/ozChange: -1.28
Pt 1226.50 $/ozChange: -3.50
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Aug 05, 2011

Not ‘either/or’ between small and large farming, both needed

Back
Agriculture|Engineering|SECURITY|ABC|Africa|Environment|Security|System|Systems|Water|Africa|South Africa|Security|Biotechnology|Energy|Food Security|Household Food Security|Logistics|Security|Services|Systems|Environmental|Infrastructure|Security|Water|Biotechnology|Business Intelligence|GM Technologies|Irrigation Technologies
Agriculture|Engineering|SECURITY|Africa|Environment|Security|System|Systems|Water|Africa||Security|Energy|Logistics|Security|Services|Systems|Environmental|Infrastructure|Security|Water|
agriculture|engineering|security|abc|africa-company|environment|security-company|system|systems-company|water-company|africa|south-africa|security-facility|biotechnology|energy|food-security|household-food-security|logistics|security-industry-term|services|systems|environmental|infrastructure|security-person|water|biotechnology-technology|business-intelligence|gm-technologies|irrigation-technologies-technology
© Reuse this



It is not a case of South Africa needing to support either small- or large-scale farming, but that both are important for the country’s development, says business organisation Agricultural Business Chamber (ABC) CEO Dr John Purchase.

Specifically, large-scale farming will provide food security and sustainable agriculture, while support for the development of small-scale farming will improve household food security, social stability and reduce the drive towards urbanisation.

Poor infrastructure in regions where small-scale farming takes place exacerbates the problem of high transaction costs, owing to the lack of economies of scale. Further, smallholders are generally disconnected from input and services markets, as well as output markets.

“However, South Africa’s well-established commercial value chains create access opportunities for small-scale producers. This will fuel a synergistic relationship that is becoming evident in South Africa, albeit at an insufficient level to improve the viability and environmental sustainability of small-scale, rural farming,” says Purchase.

Land degradation, both physical, such as soil erosion, and chemical, such as acidification, have not been observed in commercial farming areas, but are evident in subsistence farming areas. This means that smallholder producers alone cannot provide food security for the country, or farm on a sustainable basis, necessitating the support of large-scale commercial farming in conjunction with support structures for smallholders, he explains.

“Internationally, but especially in South Africa, there are different reasons for supporting both commercial producers and smallholder or subsistence producers, with the aim of achieving environmental sustainability. It is not an ‘either/or’ situation but rather an ‘and’ situation.”

Sustainability

The agrofood industry and value chains in South Africa fared only modestly well in 2010 as the recession, depressed trading and export conditions and resultant lower commodity prices impacted on the sector.

“From a production perspective, the saving grace in 2010 was that production conditions were generally fairly favourable and this assisted in the recovery phase from the recession. However, persistent droughts in certain areas impacted negatively on the industry,” notes Purchase.

To date this year, the ABC has observed a recovery in commodity prices and trading conditions, while good production conditions in the country have underpinned a significant improvement in the chamber’s Agribusiness Confidence Index, which points to moderately positive prospects for most value chains in the agrofood industry for the rest of the year, he adds.

“Improved varieties, through breeding including the use of genetic modification (GM) and biotechnology in crops, have made a significant contribution to the much-improved productivity, or yields. However, improved management practices and irrigation systems have had as significant an impact, also resulting in improved water use efficiency.”

Further, producers are increasingly implementing conservation agriculture practices, such as no, or minimal, tillage and precision farming, which not only reduces costs but also ensures much improved environmental sustainability.

Both GM technologies and conservation agriculture practices are green technologies because they reduce the use of agrochemicals, conserve soil water, are less energy intensive and use water more efficiently under irrigation conditions.

There are also many other green technologies in the pipeline from key multinational companies active in South Africa that will help to improve long-term sustainability, says Purchase.

“From an engineering perspective, the gains made in providing cost-effective and water-efficient irrigation technologies will also contribute to ensuring competitiveness and environmental sustainability. Fortunately, the South African industry has close links to a number of international companies developing these technologies and bringing them to South Africa.”

Meanwhile, threats to farming include challenges around rural infrastructure deterioration, high energy costs, negative biosecurity impacts (including avian flu, Rift Valley fever and foot-and-mouth disease) and nationalisation threats impacting on investment. These affect the country’s competitiveness and long-term prospects, he notes.

“The ABC aims to ensure an enabling environment for our members to perform competitively and profitably, and prosper as a result. This requires us to contribute to national policy development and the legislative environment, facilitate trade and provide leadership on transformation and broad-based economic empowerment as well as provide business intelligence,” says Purchase.

However, the organisation’s biggest concern is around the negative impact on South Africa’s agricultural competitiveness brought about by large price increases in administered energy and logistics costs. Further, issues around crime, corruption, land reform policy threats and proposed labour legislation are the most important challenges that the chamber and the industry are dealing with.

“Prospects for 2011 are fairly favourable, but the sword of nationalisation hangs heavy over the industry and will deter the investment necessary to ensure that the industry grows, gains new entrants, creates new jobs and ensures national food security, which we have for too long taken for granted in South Africa.

“The country has a remarkably well-developed, resilient and globally competitive agrofood system that ensures national food security. We must nurture and protect this enormous asset and not let outdated and failed ideologies hijack a vibrant and dynamic national asset,” he concludes.
 

Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Economy News
Updated 25 minutes ago Fourth renewables bid announcement postponed amid third-round closure delay
Updated 35 minutes ago The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Labour would, this week, interact with steel- and mineworkers on the national minimum wage during the second leg of its public hearing process. The first leg of hearings took place in the Western Cape earlier this month where...
International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane
Updated 5 hours ago Germany has committed to provide nearly R1-billion to South Africa for various joint projects, the German embassy said on Friday. "A total of €72.5-million, nearly R1-billion, were committed by Germany to the government of South Africa for development cooperation,"...
Article contains comments
Article contains comments
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 13 minutes ago Much like South Africa was seen as an automotive hub, white appliance manufacturer Defy aimed to establish the country as a hub for the export of white appliances, Koc chairperson Mustafa Koc said on Monday. As Koc subsidiary Arcelik Group leveraged its $324-million...
Former Reunert CEO Boel Pretorius
Updated 17 minutes ago South African radar company Reutech Radar Systems (RRS) is planning to develop new products next year, while remaining focused on its core businesses. "This is to maintain our momentum in both the defence and commercial markets," RRS CEO Carl Kies told Engineering...
Updated 25 minutes ago Fourth renewables bid announcement postponed amid third-round closure delay
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
JSE-listed real estate investment trust (REIT) Rebosis Property Fund achieved a distribution growth of 8.1% to 99.45c per linked unit in the financial year ended August 31, despite volatile market conditions.
JAMES ROBERTS The MOM incubator was designed to help babies in developing nations who were dying in conflict-struck nations or who do not receive hospital care
A low-cost, inflatable incubator won this year’s international James Dyson design award, which aims to encourage and inspire the next generation of design engineers.
The World Bank released its ‘Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency’ report last month and ranked South Africa 43 out of 189 global economies for its ease of doing business, with Singapore topping the rankings.
Air Products South Africa officially launched its R300-million Eastern Cape air- separation unit (ASU), at its new manufacturing facility in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), earlier this month. It is the second facility that Air Products launched in South...
BMW South Africa (SA) has signed a power purchasing agreement with energy company Bio2Watt. The offtake partnership will bring renewable energy to the carmaker’s Rosslyn plant, north of Pretoria.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks