SA could lose its leading position in agriculture on the continent if the government “makes mistakes with regard to agriculture”, Deputy Agriculture Minister Pieter Mulder said.
SA COULD lose its leading position in agriculture on the continent if the government “makes mistakes with regard to agriculture”, Deputy Agriculture Minister Pieter Mulder said yesterday .
“African countries north of SA have much more agricultural potential than SA .
“These countries have above average rainfall, better land quality and a warmer climate,” he said at a Grain SA function.
If the government made mistakes in agriculture, SA “could easily lose its position as a leader in this area”.
It had already been proven this year in the field of grain production that countries such as Zambia and Malawi, traditional importers of grain from SA, would be self-sufficient this year.
“Uncertainty about land reform and the current South African debates about nationalisation do not help to make SA more competitive than these African states.
“Let us learn from the mistakes which other African states had made … and let us not repeat them,” Mr Mulder said.
One of the big agricultural difficulties which prevented African countries from competing on an equal footing with other continents was fragmentation. Nearly 85% of all agriculture in Africa took place on farms smaller than 2ha.
Without co-operation plans, these farmers could never obtain the advantages that economies of scale offered.
In the US , only 4% of all farms were smaller than 2ha , and in Brazil, a developing country like SA, 11% of farms were smaller than 2ha.