http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.36Change: 0.12
R/$ = 12.01Change: 0.05
Au 1196.89 $/ozChange: 7.47
Pt 1153.50 $/ozChange: 3.00
 
 
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 Letters 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|Africa|Environment|Export|SECURITY|Sustainable|System|Systems|Water|Africa|Energy|Logistics|Services|Systems|Environmental|Infrastructure|Water
Agriculture|Engineering|Africa|Environment|Export|SECURITY|Sustainable|System|Systems|Water|Africa|Energy|Logistics|Services|Systems|Environmental|Infrastructure|Water
agriculture|engineering|africa-company|environment|export|security|sustainable|system|systems-company|water-company|africa|energy|logistics|services|systems|environmental|infrastructure|water
© 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 Agriculture News
Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde
The new systems showcased by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture on Tuesday were expected to provide a gateway for industry and policy-makers in the Western Cape to the latest intelligence from the sector and served as an important decision-making tool. The...
JSE-listed Quantum Foods expects that its earnings per share (EPS) for the six months to March 31 will increase between 556% and 576% in relation to the previous corresponding period, lifting its forecast for the period. The company reported on Tuesday that this...
JSE-listed Rhodes Food Group advised shareholders on Tuesday that the group expected earnings per share (EPS) and headline earnings per share (HEPS) to increase for the six months to March 29. The company said it was likely that EPS would climb to between 53% and 58%...
More
 
 
Latest News
Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde
The new systems showcased by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture on Tuesday were expected to provide a gateway for industry and policy-makers in the Western Cape to the latest intelligence from the sector and served as an important decision-making tool. The...
JSE-listed Quantum Foods expects that its earnings per share (EPS) for the six months to March 31 will increase between 556% and 576% in relation to the previous corresponding period, lifting its forecast for the period. The company reported on Tuesday that this...
Acknowledging the shortage of access points to connect renewable-energy projects developed under government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) to the national grid, Eskom system operator Bernard Magoro on Wednesday...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Mercedes-Benz will launch ten plug-in hybrid models by 2017, says the German automaker’s parent company, Daimler. Following the launch of the S 500 plug-in hybrid, March saw the introduction of the C 350 e, the second model to feature the drive-train concept. Under...
Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson's recent unveiling of something of a road map for an upscaled and accelerated deployment of independent power producer (IPP) capacity has been widely welcomed. Besides plans to accelerate and expand the hitherto successful...
South African Airways (SAA) acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout has firmly denied reports that a stake in the airline was going to be sold to Air China. “Categorically, SAA is not in any talks with any airline to sell itself at the moment,” he stated at a media briefing at...
Russian State-owned nuclear group Rosatom has confirmed that it is in talks with Nigeria about the construction of nuclear power plants (NPPs) in that country, but has denied that any agreement has been signed. This follows a recent report in the Nigerian media that...
HANDIGAS LPG LPG users can order products at the Afrox website or through the Afrox call centre and receive next-day delivery
Gas products and services company Afrox has launched a pilot programme to deliver its range of Handigas liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to domestic consumers to fill a gap in the market, thereby expanding its direct contact with end-users.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96