Agriculture has been identified as one of the sectors that will ignite growth and job creation in South Africa. This will be export-led, but for export activity to take off, biosecurity is key, said Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist of Agbiz, at the National Animal Health Forum’s media briefing this week.
Sihlobo said that the new minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza’s said in her budget speech that funds could be made available to FMD red-zones to support the government’s capacity in these areas, e.g. to appoint more veterinarians.
“There will also be educational and awareness programmes that will help remind farmers about the importance of biosecurity.”
Sihlobo said that although South Africa is experiencing a period of despondency in agriculture, investment has not declined in agriculture despite many headwinds.
“There are still solid fundamentals to support investment in South African agriculture. There is good returns over time. Although there is great export potential for the livestock sector, the sector has not yet fully recovered from 2015-16 drought. South African agriculture already exports 49% of its agricultural output in value terms,” Sihlobo said