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05 Mar 2015

Minister Senzeni Zokwana, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries today affirmed his commitment to South Africa’s grain industry and government’s willingness to partner with organised agriculture to ensure sustainable grain production. “We will continue to seek markets for your products, despite the current drought” Minister Zokwana said in addressing the 2015 Grain SA Congress at NAMPO Park in Bothaville.

Further to emphasising that although focus have been on sustainable production during the land reform process, which is also the theme of this year’s Congress, Minister Zokwana stressed the importance of allocating time and resources in order to maintain sustainable production. “I am concerned that this drought will also impact on our ability to produce next season” he reiterated. He called on the input and support of all stakeholders in the value chain to avert a disaster for not just the farmers, but the whole sector. He further stated that government will ensure a team is established to investigate the implications of the drought possible disaster relief. “If we failing farmers, we failing the people”, he said.

Minister Zokwana called upon the Grain Trusts to continue partnering with Grain SA to maintain sustainability during the time of transition in agriculture and assured delegates that the department is close to a breakthrough to resolve the difficulties of new era commercial farmers to access finance. “The absence of an operational solution for this matter is the only, but biggest obstacle to speed up transformation”, he said.
Louw Steytler, Chairperson of Grain SA said that agriculture is the most resilient sector of the South African society and in light of prevailing production conditions it is necessary for agriculture to be removed from the political rhetoric.

ASUF Policy Approach towards Land Reform in SA
Presenting a working document at Congress, Mr Japie Grobler, Chairperson of the Agri Sector Unity Forum (ASUF) stressed the importance of successful land reform within the context of maintaining the productive capacity of the land, maintaining domestic food security, being able to support less fortunate neighbouring countries and to earn valuable foreign exchange through exports. “In addition to what government has initiated, ASUF suggested guiding principles, stakeholder participation, an implementation framework, and monitoring practices in its strive to bring all land reform activities to an agreed conclusion” Grobler said.

A First for our Industry – Momentum Financial Wellness for Grain SA Members and Farmworkers
In a first for the agricultural industry, Grain SA also launched financial wellness products today for its members and their farmworkers in an exciting new strategic partnership with Momentum. “Labour is one of Grain SA’s strategic focus areas, and members are encouraged to instil good labour practises on their farms,” Louw Steytler, Chairperson of Grain SA said. “We have made it our objective in partnership with Momentum to bring a product to the industry that is specifically designed to cater for the needs of farmworkers at highly competitive rates. We realise the value that economies of scale bring to those who need it most,” he concluded.

Following a very successful session with grain producers, key role-players and strategic partners, Minister Zokwana thanked farmers for producing under difficult conditions and through tough times, facing huge challenges. He reiterated that our farmers are the best in the world and that we, as Government owe it to them to keep them in production, concluding that he grew up with the understanding “A Boer maak ‘n plan en ‘n plan moet gemaak word”.


Issued by:
Grain SA Communications

Further enquiries:
Jannie de Villiers, CEO, Grain SA
086 004 7246