THE government is consulting with the Competition Commission to grant farmers an exemption which will enable them to pool the surplus maize and sell it in the international market, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said this morning.
THE government is consulting with the Competition Commission to grant farmers an exemption which will enable them to pool the surplus maize and sell it in the international market as soon as possible, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said this morning.
The farmers had through Agri SA and Grain SA appealed to the state for help asking for support for the exemption so that they could find the highest bidder and possibly sell at the higher price internationally.
Addressing the Agri SA congress at the Misty Hills Country Hotel, in Muldersdrift near Krugersdorp, she said the priority of the department at the moment included finding markets for the surplus maize, which threatened to bankrupt several emerging farmers.
She said there was no likelihood of changing policy at the moment to enable the farmers to sell the maize to the bio fuel industry. Maize has been excluded by the state from being sourced by the bio fuel industry in a bid to safeguard food security for the stable food product.
“It takes time to change policy and there is not a chance to have this aspect changed immediately it would require a serious process through Parliament to have it changes and we do not thing it is feasible so we hope to identify markets including the United Nations agencies to absorb the surplus,” she said.
She added that the government planned to promote and flag the cooperation it receives from commercial farmers in a bid to reduce the stigma against the industry often portrayed as against transformation and black empowerment,
Ms Joemat-Pettersson said that the positive aspects of the agricultural sector were being overlooked due to the long-standing perception that commercial farmers and the agricultural sector in general was racists and resisting change, which was incorrect.
She said the government valued the agricultural sector’s input towards the training, mentoring and development of emerging black farmers.
She promised that her department will be more responsive towards the farmer’s plight especially now that it had appointed a director general. firstname.lastname@example.org