Ramaphosa heads to Tanzania for state visit and SADC summit

11 Aug 2019

Pretoria – President Cyril Ramaphosa will undertake a state visit to Tanzania on August 14 and 15 at the invitation of President John Pombe Magufuli, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor said on Sunday.

South Africa and Tanzania enjoyed strong fraternal, historical, and excellent political, economic, and social relations which were cemented during the period of the liberation struggle, she told journalists at a media briefing in Pretoria.

South Africa established formal diplomatic relations with Tanzania in 1994. Since then, there had been high-level interactions between the two countries aimed at consolidating and strengthening political, economic, and social relations, resulting in the signing of 16 sectoral agreements between the two countries.

Ramaphosa’s state visit would further deepen the existing economic, political, cultural, and social relations between the two countries, Pandor said.

In 2018, South African exports to Tanzania amounted to R5.8 billion, whereas imports from Tanzania amounted to R479 million. South African exports to Tanzania were predominantly in the areas of manufacturing – machinery, mechanical appliances, paper, rubber products, vehicles, iron, and steel, including services and technology.

On the other hand, imports from Tanzania were mainly gold, coffee, cashew nuts, and cotton. There were over 170 South African companies operating in Tanzania, across all sectors of the economy.

“The state visit will allow both leaders to discuss bilateral, continental, and global issues, and to reaffirm their commitment to further cooperate closely on multilateral issues. A business forum is being arranged by ministries of trade and industry of both countries and participants will be addressed by both presidents,” Pandor said.

Following the state visit, Ramaphosa would lead a South African delegation to the 39th ordinary summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state and government, also to take place in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania on August 17 and 18.

The summit would take place under the theme “A conducive business environment for inclusive and sustainable industrial development”. The theme was in line with previous SADC summit decisions that endorsed industrialisation as the overarching priority for the region based on the SADC industrialisation strategy and roadmap, she said.

Apart from considering the progress on the implementation of the SADC industrialisation strategy and roadmap, the summit was expected to consider the protocol on industry and the regional mining vision. These documents were a demonstration of the region’s desire to cooperate on industrial development to support regional integration.

“SADC remains a key component of South African foreign policy which aims to promote economic integration among its member states and to achieve sustainable development, allowing the region to address the key challenges of unemployment and poverty alleviation.

“Regional integration plays an important role, both politically and economically in terms of reducing the risk of regional conflicts. It further relates to pooling resources and markets for achieving economies of scale,” Pandor said

African News Agency (ANA)

Land Reform and rural development budget vote in NCOP

23 Jul 2019

The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Ms Thoko Didiza, together with the Deputy Ministers, Mr Mcebisi Skwatsha and Mr Sdumo Dlamini, will table the Budget Vote Speechesto the National Council of Provinces in Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday, 25thJuly 2019 at 14H00 at NCOP Chambers, Parliament 120 Plein Street, Cape Town .

The Budget Vote will focus on key deliverables, outputs and cover a range of critical matters related to the mandate of the new merged department

For media RSVP, please send your details for accreditation, preferably no later than Wednesday afternoon, 24thJuly 2019, to: Jamela Nkanyane, JamelaN@daff.gov.za JamelaN@daff.gov.za or 082346 9781 Mr Tshepo Diale on 071 850 1751 or tshepo.diale@drdlr.gov.za

Food gardens and small-scale farmers hold key to food system transformation.

20 Jul 2019

South Africa has recently seen a resurgence of food gardens and small scale agriculture. This is an important marker of where and how we should approach agrarian transformation and food system development in South Africa. These ‘emergent’, new or ‘small’ farmers can make a significant contribution to our food system, both in food production and in community development.

Food gardens and small-scale farms are the diametric opposite of large-scale agriculture, and this itself reflects the exclusion that has been effective in land, agrarian and food systems since colonialism.

The most recent General Household Survey (StatsSA 2019) indicated that up to 2.2 million households have recently constructed food gardens at their homes in order to avert food insecurity. It is these farmers who hold the key to food system transformation, and our policy and developmental approaches need to meet them halfway if we want to transform our food system.

The Agricultural Census of 2011 (StatsSA 2011) and the recent GHS indicate that slightly less than 20% of the population is active in agriculture. We can safely say that there are about 2.5 million “agricultural” households in South Africa, but the more recent statistics on the resurgence of food gardens shows that this is fluid and that people move in and out of agriculture in response to poverty. However, this sizable group of farmers has become more differentiated, enabling specific recommendations on their development.

About 2.2 million new “food gardeners” are active in South Africa, and this figure indicates the scale of a budding seed and other input markets. It indicates how many people are in need of training in agriculture, and indicates, roughly as yet, what possible volumes and what kinds of food could be produced by these farmers. These “emergent”, new or “small” farmers can make a significant contribution to our food system, both in food production and in community development.

Many in South Africa, from state to NGOs, see food gardens and small-scale agriculture as relevant to food security. We are also seeing many NGOs attempting to facilitate market access for such farmers. Many want them to upgrade to large commercial farming. It is completely unclear how such small farmers could figure in the attempt to transfer large landholdings to them, as the large landholding and the “emergent” character of the new farmer do not really “fit” each other. The attempt to increase food security through small-scale gardens is also fraught with danger. The limited size of such operations, plus the fact that they cannot produce grains or meat in quantity, places question marks on this policy approach.

We also need to be clear if market access is the right approach, particularly if we take a systemic view of a food system that, even for large commercial farmers, pays very little to the farmer. Small farmers need to be empowered by creating local food economies, mostly in townships and less than in formal residential areas. This approach, it will be argued, is feasible and can realise many valuable social, economic and environmental outcomes. The idea of a local food economy stands in some contrast to our current conceptions of a farm as a large enterprise, and the long value chains we have constructed for processed food.

We need to understand that the preference for large landholdings is “only” a natural or organic feature of the economic system wherein it figures. Large farmers deliver a product (with no “unique value proposition”) at the lowest cost to food distributors and processors that in turn engenders large supermarkets and, in this way, low prices are assured, through economies of scale and “urban bias” in policy-making. In this chain, initial processing (placing food in a punnet) often commands higher revenue than food production. This is why all farmers do not do so well in South Africa. Low supermarket prices belie low prices for farmers and here key impacts on farm workers are felt, as farmers simply cannot pay them a decent wage as they, in turn, receive too little from buyers.

The place a farmer occupies in the food value chain in South Africa should be at our centre of analysis of both land reform and food insecurity in South Africa. These low prices will be even lower for emergent and small-scale farmers, and this immediately calls into question discussions of land reform that do not immediately also discuss the food system in South Africa. The idea of giving them “market access” should also be critically interrogated as it will reproduce the inequities of the system, and this cannot be a solution. Furthermore, we need to keep in mind that food security will always be achieved through a functional food market and nowhere through the provision of food alone. Food gardens are important as they form the basis of a new production regime for food that could be both highly equitable and ecologically sustainable, but they are not magic bullets that will eliminate food insecurity.

Food gardens are key in a local food economy but, for them to have any effect on food security and on local economies, a greater share of the value chain needs to accumulate in the farming enterprise. This value is the resource that will eventually address food insecurity and economic development. It invokes a vision for the development of emergent farmers that blends a systemic perspective with entrepreneurship and this can innovate in South Africa’s food system. Farms and gardens always sit within webs of relationships and these need to be completely exploited to ensure viability for local enterprises. Local food production may condition a new food system that could deliver food in different ways with different food security effects. Small-sale agriculture, as a social transformation strategy, will not necessarily compete with rural agriculture, particularly rain-fed grain and meat production, as small-scale agriculture is most appropriate for “kitchen vegetables” and other speciality crops. In fact, the improvement of diets and general human development through the development of local food economies will expand markets for grains and meat. Most “kitchen vegetables” are already being produced close to city centres, often in indoor-type systems. The emergence of such “local” producers indicates that a change is already underway in the system, and this is where emergent farmers can find a livelihood.

The marginal position of these new farmers or, better, emergent food entrepreneurs is globally determined but this can be changed. There are clear ways we can enable successful entry into the greater food market for such farmers. We need to create business models that enable replicable and profitable units of production. This can take the survivalist sector and transform it into a viable micro-enterprise sector. This needs new business models that enable the farmer to build systems within a survivalist context and move up out of it. Currently, farmers lose much value due to their place in the system and the low capacity of the entrepreneur. In this regard we need to innovate in the business process, the use of networks and the kinds of technology used.

Technology is often focused on large enterprises, but there are numerous examples of appropriate technology for small-scale enterprises, and one only has to look at Backsaver from the Free State to see the huge opportunity here. Organic production methods, highly intensive and at small scale are proven and effective and are inherently safe for urban neighbours. They are less financially intensive and can turn local waste into resources, as it sells produce through the same channels. They are knowledge- and practice-intensive, and this translates to higher employment in these systems. They also have a very low entry cost, as compost can be manufactured yourself for almost no cost. Marketing and branding are not distant elite activities any more and local distribution strategies can be developed that will reinforce enterprise development and the local economy. Why are we not seriously considering these opportunities to develop emergent farmers? The vision this engenders is one where a local farmer can succeed in producing food for local customers at lower than retail cost.

The recirculation of wastes through technologies, either through composting or even biogas production, lowers costs, and this can be done. Marketing can be accomplished by immediate sales to neighbours and here a farmer can capture the transport costs of the competition (as they harvest waste). These channels can develop local “loyalty” programmes that exchange waste for food, and these can offer nutrition education as well. Recycling can be integrated here as well and this points to how a sustainable system can be constructed. The above is a key example of a “networked” enterprise that is qualitatively different than the linear enterprise that is the staple of enterprise development. It exploits the blind spots of the current food system, and here networks are productive relations that are part of the enterprise’s operations. This example of a true circular enterprise illustrates the sophisticated nature and relevance of such food production systems. Small-scale technologies can help in packaging and processing the food, making it competitive with factory processing. Such enterprises can build productive relationships with food caterers and local restaurants and develop new supply chains with those who process to the highest degree – caterers and chefs – that will truly invigorate the township economy. The food value chain will be appropriated by local artisans and entrepreneurs and this can bypass the costly distribution networks of large retailers. These productive relations will start accumulating value in townships and lead to the industrialisation of the area. It is here, in the accumulation of value and capital in local townships, where food insecurity, economic development and sustainability can be achieved.

We know that these farmers have received almost no schooling and rudimentary agricultural training. Each owns fewer than 10 stock units. Technology and new marketing systems can change their position in the market significantly. The mobile abattoir systems developed by Meat Naturally enables farmers to produce meat that satisfies all sanitary requirements and enables them to choose their own buyers. The fact that small farmers are not receiving significant incomes from their animals points to a clear failure in enterprise development in South Africa. Local slaughter can bypass the myriad middlemen in the South African meat system and deliver locally produced meat to local areas. These animals are often free of hormones and antibiotics and their meat is in fact a better product than mainstream slaughtered meat. This is the kind of solution we need to empower emergent farmers in South Africa. Regarding food production, we need a revolution in low external input farming models. Biological systems have a clear advantage here in terms of cost and efficiency, and they immediately build networks and social capital around operations, which also forms the basis of marketing and sales. Food waste harvesting will have a definite impact on municipal waste management and build communities through the relations between consumers and farmers. Waste will acquire monetary value. This will make townships a little bit more livable, and should we be able to combine these with waste up-cycling technology, we can attempt a new approach to waste. Plastics can be up cycled and re manufactured and these technologies are accessible. We forget that this will contribute to the creation of a valuable real estate market in the townships, something that will not happen considering the way waste is simply dumped in open lots. Finance is another area where great innovations can be made. The fact that emergent farmers are not producing for sale is a great education and incubation opportunity. Traditional financing organizations like the Land Bank cannot accommodate such farmers. Their financial needs will be too small to justify the administrative expense of validating loan applications, and bunches of applications may exacerbate this problem.

Hence we need to develop a new financing system, one that can disburse finds from, say, R10,000 to R50,000 quickly. Efficiency might have to wait as we can expect at least 30% defaulters in initial rounds, but such small loans can benefit a great number of emergent entrepreneurs in rapid time, and not burden them with costly fees that are impossible to repay. This might still be cheaper than the administrative costs of large loan schemes. It also goes without saying that pure grants, often disbursed by the government for questionable business plans, have to stop. We are not arguing against the largesse of the state which may be appropriate in some cases, but the gifting of large sums of money undermines entrepreneurial skills development and attitude, and the development of sound financial systems. It is better to focus on business plans and operations so an enterprise can accept and pay back a loan, than gifting a large amount of money to someone who is already incapable. Townships are replete with mainstream food retailers, “spaza” shops, and food gardens. Townships, unfortunately, are net exporters of value, and the food system facilitates this. Mainstream retailers (with a hefty share of the producer price and the market in general) in fact extract value out of townships (and “suburbs”) which would be acceptable had there been enough jobs available to make up for the difference. Food is produced by farmers, but the greatest share of the benefit of retail lies with supermarkets, who further repatriate their profits.

The feedback loop to residents is just too tenuous to accumulate any real value in townships and bad diets contribute even more. However, we can change townships to be a net creator of value if we have the means to enable smaller farmers to supply townships at lower prices than we see in supermarkets. Lower distribution costs and local processing can ensure this. The processing of locally produced foods in the spaza shops and fledgling industries that we do find in townships is very important. Currently, technologies are becoming cheaper and more accessible and this invokes the possibility of local production, branding and distribution. This will create a local food system. The feedback loops in this system will be significant and can build greater cohesion between people and farmers, and could lead to new industries in townships around the processing of food that will generate great value for these areas. The point is to let this value circulate in the township as much as possible before it leaves the area. This means we need to take seriously politicians’ calls for township industrialization, and food could be a focus area for this. Local industrialization can be enhanced by a clear system of innovation for the township and emergent enterprises. Newer technologies, some from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, enable significant production volumes for smaller-scale operations. These systems, hydroponics and aquaponics can be constructed indoors and also on rooftops, and can enable substantial production in local areas.

They are also open to ICTs and computerisation. Technology will enable townships to capture a greater share of the value of the food market. Further technological adoption, design and development can enable limited spaces to become productive. Productivity will include a reference to the whole value chain, and not only volumes, as savings in transport, packaging and retail can be captured by the farmer themselves, making a small-scale operation viable. We thus need to link our emerging farmers to township food markets in new equitable ways. These can be constructed by a technology-intensive value chain, by building relationships between farmers and consumers, and an approach to enterprise development that enables the enterprise to command a greater share of the value. This approach changes our agrarian structure, the patterns in the economy, and the sustainability of our food system.

Read the article on Daily Maverick

Author: Naude Malan; Original article

Smallholder crop farming is on the decline in South Africa – Here’s why it matters

9 Jul 2019

Over half a million households in South Africa’s former homelands disengaged from farming between 2011 and 2016, according to Statistics South Africa. This represents a loss of one in five crop farming households.

The former homelands were the ten areas demarcated under the previous apartheid system as places where indigenous, black South Africans were required to live, along ethnic group lines.

With little economic base and no government investment, underdevelopment and poverty were rife (and still are). Arable agriculture was thus an important livelihood activity of most households.

The high number of households abandoning crop farming is disquieting given the high levels of food insecurity and hunger in the country: one in five people are vulnerable to hunger, and about one-third of children in some provinces suffer chronic malnutrition.

Why would households disengage from field cropping in the face of such high levels of hunger and malnutrition?

We corroborated the picture painted by Statistics South Africa data in our recent synthesis of several studies over the last two decades.

The synthesis covers 37 sites spread throughout six of the former homelands and used a wide range of different approaches.

These included repeat ground, aerial or satellite images, household surveys, repeat visits to specific villages and oral narratives about farming and cultivation.

We focused on the former homelands because that is where most of the millions of smallholders live. They have experienced very little change in access to land or tenure security since the demise of apartheid.

Regardless of methods used and locations studied, results from most of the sites showed that the planting and cultivation of fields, typically areas larger than 0.5 hectares, has been abandoned on a large-scale.

In some instances this has been partially compensated for by the intensification of smaller scale home-gardening.

Such a decline in cropping makes rural households, most of whom are poor, more reliant on food purchases, and at the mercy of price hikes. Such food is often of a lower diversity and nutritional quality.

Additionally, the decline undermines the household and national food security and self-sufficiency. While this dynamic is not unique to South Africa, it has received little attention in the national debates around land and about agriculture

Why people abandon crop farming

The abandonment of crop farming fields isn’t new. But some researchers have argued that it’s accelerated in the last two decades. Irrespective, one wonders what might be the causes of such a loss of skills, knowledge, labour and land out of cropping.

The answer is that there is unlikely to be a single cause. The interplay of specific drivers behind the change varies from place to place, and from household to household, even in the same village.

Nonetheless, there are several, often interrelated, causes mentioned more often than others by rural villagers themselves. These include:

  • insufficient funds to buy inputs;
  • increasing incomes from other sources (mostly social grants), making it possible to buy food from shops;
  • environmental change such as climate change or declining soil fertility;
  • recurring damage to crops by livestock that are not herded because children are in school;
  • socio-cultural change, such as a decline in patriarchy, with many female-headed households, and youth who do not wish to follow in their father’s footsteps.
  • aspirations for urban livelihoods leading to some young people not seeing a future in farming; and
  • inadequate direct and policy support from the government.

Understanding the relative contributions of these different causes can contribute towards more informed decision-making, at local and national levels.

Effects and implications

The effects and implications of the change are also worth examining. These span social, economic and ecological spheres.

Socially, there is loss of identity as farming communities. That’s because more young people increasingly aspire to a future in less physically demanding, and more financially rewarding jobs.

The decline of field cropping means that the people who used to work the fields (including household labour) are either now unemployed or have moved to other sectors.

Another consequence is that food security may be compromised. For example, Dr Gamuchirai Chakona, an environmental science researcher at Rhodes University, has found that farming households have higher dietary diversity.

And, Mike Rogan, a professor of labour studies at Rhodes University, has reported that farming households experience less hunger, even though they may be poorer in terms of income.

Economically, idle arable land in the context of a growing national population jeopardises national food security and requires increases in food imports.

Ecologically, there may be both pros and cons. Abandoned fields provide other products, such as firewood, that are useful to local communities or general society.

Increased biodiversity in deactivated fields increases carbon absorption, and helps mitigate the effects of climate change. But such changes will also alter fire regimes and make some old fields susceptible to invasive species

Intervention

Only a small proportion of households in the former homelands are full-time farmers. This number is declining, as is the area of land being cultivated.

Government support for cultivators in the communal areas is quite limited, and focused on the small fraction that is capable of selling surplus produce to the formal market.

Policies and interventions that promote the value and image of agriculture, and which strive for food security for all are limited.

On the other hand, having unused land means it could be reactivated as a safety net during adverse times, such as the loss of a job or loss of a breadwinner.

There is a clear need to understand this ongoing decline in crop farming. There is also a need to debate the implications for the use of the abandoned land. To find appropriate policy responses, such debates should take place across sectors and involve households, the villages, districts and country.

Penny Mograbi (Rhodes), Scott Drimie and Kristi Maciejewski (Stellenbosch), Timm Hoffman (Cape Town), Wayne Twine (Witwatersrand), Derick Fay (California, USA) and Paul Hebinck (Wageningen, The Netherlands) collaborated on the research for this article.

Charlie Shackleton, Professor & Research Chair in Interdisciplinary Science in Land and Natural Resource Use for Sustainable Livelihoods, Rhodes University. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Source: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/lifestyle/smallholder-crop-farming-decline-south-africa/

About 30% of food produced in Mzansi is lost or wasted

27 May 2019

Lack of knowledge of farming practices causes food waste South Africans can’t afford,

It is estimated that one-third of the food produced globally for human consumption is lost or wasted along the supply chain. This is a whopping 1.3 billion metric tons of food that doesn’t ever reach the consumer.

Most of the food loss occurs during transit from farm to fork, especially to urban markets. Food losses represents a waste of land, water, energy, financial, agrichemical and mechanical inputs. It not only impacts producers with reduced income and consumers with increased costs, but also challenges overall food security.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that saving one-fourth of the food currently lost or wasted globally would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people in the world.

For Africa, food losses are even higher— estimated at between 30% and 50%. It has a negative effect on food security, nutrition and economic stability. A number of studies have also observed that the underlying cause of post-harvest food waste and loss occurs at early stages of the food value chain. This can be associated with the lack of infrastructure for short-term storage, particularly at the farm level, as well as the lack of intermediate processing in the production catchments.

Mzansi is food secure, but not at household level

South Africa is said to be the most food secure country on the African continent. This is thanks to its robust, resilient and world-class commercial agricultural sector, at least from a commercial perspective. Currently, South Africa is ranked 44th out of 133 countries measured with regards to food affordability, availability, quality and safety, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2017 Global Food Security Index. However, it has been reported that an average of 12 million people go to bed hungry every night.

This, therefore, suggests that while South Africa might be regarded as food secure from a national perspective from a household perspective it is not. Food security is the basis for human beings’ way of life and, without it, life becomes unbearable and impossible.

The Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) estimates that about 30% of all food produced in South Africa is lost or wasted. This then begs a question: if South Africa boasts a world-class commercial agriculture and the right to food is enshrined in its Constitution, why is the country not able to address its hunger problems?

Inadequate farming methods, equipment cause food losses

Part of the answer to this question lays at the heart of post-harvest food losses. Estimates suggest that about 10 million tons of food go to waste in South Africa every year. This accounts for a third of the 31 million tons of food produced annually. The losses comprise 44% fruit and vegetables, 26% grains, 15% meat, and 13% roots, tubers and oilseeds. Most of this wastage and loss occurs early in the food supply chain, where 50% is lost during the post-harvest phase, 25% during processing and packaging, 20% during distribution and retail, and 5% at consumer level.

What can be done to reduce post-harvest losses? While it is important to come up with practical steps, identifying reasons or actions behind post-harvest losses is more necessary for proposing solutions to combat the problem.

Post-harvest losses could occur due to a number of reasons, including poor timing of harvest, poor methods and equipment choice for harvesting and initial handling, and the inability to harvest or decision not to harvest the crop. Timing, harvest method, and initial handling procedures can all affect the nutrient content of horticulture crops, leading to a loss of quality. Improper harvest methods and initial handling can result in cuts, bruising, and surface abrasion in roots, tubers, fruits and vegetables, leading to loss of water and nutrients. Moreover, losses can occur during transportation itself due to lack of temperature control, but also because of rough and multiple handling during loading and off-loading and lack of proper storage.

Lack of knowledge causes food waste

Given the above mentioned, it is clear that the general lack of knowledge on good agricultural practices, both at farmer and extension worker level, is the main contributor to post-harvest produce losses. Farmers, especially smallholders, do not use appropriate post-harvest crop handling techniques, appropriate storage facilities are too expensive or not available, appropriate transport modes are not available, road conditions are bad, and market information and access are insufficient, leading to unprecedented produce wastage.

Knowledge on the correct handling, storing, and transport of agricultural produce from farm level and throughout the supply chain is something that requires urgent attention. Perhaps more importantly, policy-makers need to show a little more interest in this regard. Linked to that is to ensure that available training and research in the agricultural sector is adequate and accessible to all producers, irrespective of size. This could go a long way to improving South Africa’s food quality and food security.

Story by: Hamlet Hlomendlini, https://www.foodformzansi.co.za/column-about-30-of-food-produced-in-mzansi-is-lost-or-wasted/

‘Many factors impact vegetable price fluctuations’

15 May 2019

The Fresh Produce Market Trends report released in the first week of May by Absa senior agricultural economist, Wessel Lemmer, indicated that potato volumes increased 102% from the previous week, with onion volumes also up more than 60%.

Week-on-week tomato volumes were up 46%, carrots were up 20%, and cabbages increased 34%.

“Some farmers harvested their crops [cabbages] rapidly to avoid them rotting from the increased rain we saw in the past weeks,” the report stated.

Carrot prices were up 19% week-on-week despite higher volumes, with onion prices also 2% higher. Potato prices decreased 2% week-on-week, cabbage prices were down 9%, and tomato prices declined nearly 30%.

General manager of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), Lindie Stroebel, told Farmer’s Weekly that trying to make sense of the fluctuations in fresh produce volumes and prices was often difficult.

These factors could also not be viewed in isolation as issues such as consumer spending power at a certain time of the month, shopping habits (such as stockpiling), or even global events could have a significant impact on local supply, demand and prices of specific vegetables.

For example, the poorest segment of the local population accounted for about 50% of the market for these types of vegetables, and their spending power and habits changed depending on the time of the month.

“Buyers start stocking up on produce from mid-month to prepare for higher demand at the end of the month. This tends to push prices up,” she said.

Another major influencer was the export market, with producers increasingly taking advantage of sudden supply gaps in the market. She said this had driven the increase in domestic onion prices about a month ago.

“There was a gap to export to the European market because of supply shortages there,” she said.

Stroebel said it was important that farmers at ground level, who were trying to determine whether to market their produce or hold on to it, consider all the various fresh produce market dynamics and not just base decisions on statistics from weekly volume and price fluctuations.

Story by: Sabrina Dean

Read original article here: https://www.farmersweekly.co.za/agri-news/south-africa/many-factors-impact-vegetable-price-fluctuations/

People in Southern Africa demand for more Social Accountability in the Agriculture Sector

Lusaka, March 2019.

People in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have called for Member States to progressively allocate budgets to agriculture to reach the Malabo Declaration target of at least 10% % to sustain annual agricultural GDP growth of at least 6% annually

Small scale farmers, CSOs and law makers from national parliaments and the Regional SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF) says national investments in agriculture should align with farmers own priorities and focus on financing diversified smallholder support programs, such as extension services, research, climate change adaptation, input support, improving access to finance and market

They were speaking at the 3rd Regional Budget Summit on Strengthening Social Accountability in Health and Agriculture in Southern Africa, co-hosted by the Partnership for Social Accountability (PSA) Alliance and the SADC PF.

The Summit was held in Lusaka, Zambia bringing representatives from Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia recently

In the Communiqué released at the Summit, delegates urged SADC Secretariat to urgently operationalize the established SADC Food and Nutrition Security Regional Steering Committee as formed during the SADC Food and Nutrition Security Strategy Forum in Malawi (2014), which is to advise on regional food and nutrition policy frameworks and strategies

They also called upon SADC Member States to support innovative research and development to develop and redirection of funds towards the adoption of agro ecological practices such as use of community-based seed systems, improvement of soil fertility through increasing soil organic matter, integrated pest management as opposed to hybrid seed and chemically intensive agriculture

The Summit in Lusaka recommend the supreme audit institutions of Member States to conduct performance audits of their agricultural extension services and conduct forensic audits of all farmers support programs with a focus on Farm Input Support Programs (FISP) to identify and address the systematic internal control weaknesses that allow for misuse of funds and in enabling small holder farmers particularly women to sustainably contribute to the realization of food security goals in the region

The Communiqué was submitted to SADC Secretariat, and the SADC Heads of State and Government Summit scheduled for August 2019.

The PSA alliance for social accountability in southern Africa is made of ESAFF, Actionaid South Africa, SAfaids and PSAM – Rhodes University in South Africa. To read the entire communique click here http://esaffsouthafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Communique-Budget-Summit_07-March-2019_Lusaka.pdf

Minister launches small-scale fisheries in Kwazulu-Natal

The Minister of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Senzeni Zokwana, launched the Small-Scale Fisheries Sector of KwaZulu-Natal eMandeni, KwaMazitapele, in Kwazulu Natal on 19 March. Zokwana said government took a decision, in line with the amended Marine Living Resources Act, to introduce small-scale fisheries as a way of addressing the injustices of the past and to contribute to building the rural and coastal economy.

The launch of the sector involved:

  • Declaring small-scale fishing co-operatives by handing over the co-operative, certificates to the first twenty-nine (29) registered co-operatives with 2 000 members from communities located in the greater KZN area to be allocated 15-year fishing rights,
  • Announcing the schedule for the rights application and allocation process, and
  • Announcing some of the support programmes for small-scale fishing co-operatives in partnership with the Provincial Government of KZN.

“Our imagination is to see small-scale fisheries graduate from small-scale primary fishing to processing and marketing. We must see them owning big vessels and competing at a bigger scale in the market. Fisheries is a sector worth a trillion rand in the ocean economy. It cannot be left to the whims of those who dominate it to open up to those who were previously disadvantaged,” the minister said.

Many other economic activities linked to harvesting by small-scale fishers occur as a direct result of their efforts. These are:

  • Sales of fish and fish products,
  • Fish cleaning and preparation,
  • Boat-building and boat repairs,
  • Net-making and repairs.

Women benefit from the multiplier effects brought about by small scale fishing.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) viewed South Africa’s small-scale fisheries policy (SSFP) as the most progressive of its kind in the world. The challenge was how the SSFP would be implemented given its broad and idealistic scope. In 2013 the Small-Scale Fisheries Implementation Plan, a document explaining how the policy would be implemented over a period of 5 years and at an estimated cost of over R400 million, was adopted.

After a window for expression of interest was open to all coastal communities, KwaZulu Natal had
2 184 small-scale fishers recognised for the province. The Small-Scale Fishing Regulations stipulate that small-scale fishing communities can be recognised as a small-scale community only if there is a minimum of 20 recognised small-scale fishers.

The recognised small-scale fishers from the remaining communities that do not meet the minimum requirements will join other recognised fishers to form a virtual small-scale fishing community. There are 37 communities recognised as small-scale fishing communities in KZN of which 29 have been registered.

The minister said support was needed to grow this new sub-sector of the fishing sector established to increase previously disadvantaged people into the fishing business. –

Press release: https://www.agriorbit.com/minister-launches-small-scale-fisheries-in-kzn/

‘Research needed to mitigate food insecurity in Africa’

The rise in global food insecurity is a serious cause for concern, given the ever increasing global population, especially on the African continent.

Ongoing research was therefore of the essence to counteract the scourge in future.

This was according to Prof Sanlie Middelberg of the School of Accounting Sciences at North-West University’s campus in Potchefstroom.

Middelberg, who was recently promoted to full professor at the university, said during her inauguration ceremony that 17% (1,3 billion) of the global population of nearly 7,6 billion people lived in Africa.

“The global population is predicted to grow to almost 9,8 billion by 2050. This is an increase of 2,2 billion from 2017, of whom 1,3 billion (57%) is expected to [live] in Africa,” she added.

While several African countries were expected to triple in size between 2017 and 2100, the populations of Zambia, Angola, Burundi, Nigeria, Somalia and Tanzania were expected to grow by a factor of five.

The population of Nigeria, the most populous of these countries, was expected to outnumber that of Europe by the end of the century.

In 2017, almost 10% of the world’s population (770 million people) experienced severe food insecurity as measured by the international Food Insecurity Experience Scale.

This scale estimated people’s ability to access food. Severe food insecurity was defined as someone going “for entire days without eating due to lack of money or other resources”.

A total of 375 million of the world’s food insecure people lived in Africa, representing three out of every 10 people on the continent, she said.

The population of sub-Saharan Africa was the youngest in the world, according to Middelberg, with 62% younger than 25 years of age.

The region’s population was expected to double over the next 35 years, which would mean an additional 17 million youths reaching an employable age every year by 2035.

“The agriculture sector has a pivotal role to play both in providing food security and creating employment. However, to achieve these goals, research into agricultural finance, in particular, is of the essence, especially in South Africa,” she said.

Story by: Annelie Coleman

Goodbye our Hero Flora Maswanganyi,

24 Jan 2019

ESAFF has lost one of her stronger and experience leader Mrs. Flora Maswanganyi. Ms. Maswanganyi chairperson of ESAFF South Africa and Board member of ESAFF regional networks suddenly passed on 21st January 2019.

She served in the ESAFF Board since 2013 after she became the ESAFF South Africa Board Chairperson. In May 2015 she was overwhelmingly elected ESAFF Regional Vice Chairperson, as she served until December 2018. 

Flora a mother, a community mobilizer, a poultry and vegetable farmer was born on 31st April 1961 at Waterberg, Warmbath District in the Republic of South Africa.

The late Mathama Florah Maswanganyi (R.I.P)

In her short time with ESAFF, Flora was very instrumental in linking ESAFF into global policies as well as civil society organizations. She connected well smallholder farmer’s issues with other organizations like the Ecumenical Justice Network (EJN) and Oxfam  in to the BRICs initiatives.  BRICS is an association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The BRICS members are known for their significant influence on regional affairs; all are members of G20. South Africa hosted the most recent 10th BRICS summit in July 2018.

Flora also linked ESAFF to the global movement on Peoples Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS). The Philippines based PCFS is a growing network of various grassroots groups of small food producers particularly of peasant-farmer organisations and their support NGOs, working towards a People’s Convention on Food Sovereignty. PCFS engages in global and regional campaigns and advocacies to promote small-scale food producers’ right to food security and food sovereignty, or control over their food systems.

Recently she was engaged with the newly established initiatives under La via Campesina on healthy Food systems in Africa.

Flora is survived by husband, a daughter and three grandchildren

ESAFF was blessed to learn many valuable lessons from Flora, who will sincerely be remembered for her wisdom, charm, positive mind and hard working..

Rest Easy Legend!

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