Expropriation debate must not sap energy from agricultural master plan

Source: Wandile Sihlobo, Bizcommunity, 9 Apr 2021, photo credit: TravelLocal

The department of agriculture, land reform and rural development, agribusinesses and various social partners have been hard at work for months crafting the agricultural and agro-processing master plan and, separately, blended finance instruments.

These aim to ignite growth and expansion in the agricultural sector as part of the government’s broader economic reconstruction and recovery plan. Both initiatives are set to be launched in the coming months, while the first phase of the blended finance instrument programme has already started, as evidenced by the recent launch of the R1bn Agri-Industrial Fund by the Industrial Development Corporation in partnership with the department.

These are constructive programmes with the potential to ignite growth and transformation in the sector. Agricultural organisations allocate much of their time and resources to pursuing these goals. Sadly, much of this good work takes place behind the scenes, while other major policy developments that might hinder progress grab the attention of social partners and the media.

A case in point is the renewed debate over section 25 of the Constitution and the Expropriation Bill. At the end of March, parliament’s portfolio committee on public works hosted public hearings on the bill, while the committee tasked to “make explicit what is implicit” in section 25 of the constitution continued with its public hearings. The outcome will have implications for public sentiment. I hope it will not detract from the two initiatives mentioned above to drive growth and expansion in agriculture.
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The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.