WANDILE SIHLOBO: Commercial agriculture myths pollute real policy solutions
Farming units have been reduced in number through consolidation but not the number of farmers
Unlike several other African countries, SA has not faced a food shortage in the recent past. Food production has increased over the years and SA has remained a net exporter. Over the past two decades the country’s agricultural and food trade surplus has averaged $2bn, according to Trade Map data.
These gains were supported by an expanded area under production, primarily fruits and soya beans, and improved productivity across all commodities. The productivity gains were boosted by adopting new farming technologies — mechanical and biological — and better farming techniques. This trend also resulted in the consolidation of farming units over the years, especially since the 1997/1998 deregulation of agricultural products markets...