South Africans should remember that 80% of agricultural production is produced by only 20% of farmers. Ignoring this will, without any doubt, put our national food security at risk. The threat of empty supermarket shelves is not a remote one, it is a very real risk. Farming is not a game of fools, but is based on science and global technology. The government therefore needs to exercise extreme caution as far as agricultural policy formulation is concerned.
I had the pleasure of meeting our vice-president only days prior to the historic first election in April 1994. He came across as an extremely perceptive man with an immediate grasp of the issues then at hand. Cyril Ramaphosa has now issued a public challenge on national TV that we should be prepared to share the fruits of our industry within the context of the overall economy and the national transformation agenda.
For his edification, our company has been attempting for nearly a decade to deliver, in good faith, a well-constructed project that supports all of these ideals. However, after a string of failed attempts, including two well-motivated submissions to the Jobs Fund, we find ourselves again back to square one. We are affiliated to a group of companies that controls a value chain supporting exports across the globe, as well as being a major player on the local and over-border markets.
Our challenge to Ramaphosa is to move from political speak to concrete action. Our door remains open for serious dialogue to achieve mutual objectives that have evaded us.
A Rawbone-ViljoenOak Valley Estate, Elgin