The article, "Agriculture groups urge support for new farmers" (August 28) correctly illustrates that even the most determined new farmers are typically held back by their inability to find grants or loans needed to build a successful business.
All farmers, black and white, face a host of unpredictable obstacles in growing their enterprises to the point that they are profitable in the long term, able to sustain families and create jobs. Most white farmers stand on the shoulders of their fathers and grandfathers, gaining knowledge and skills they need for success as they grow up.
Most black farmers – even those with talent and dedication in spades – have had little opportunity to gain the same depth of experience and knowledge. This needs to change.
Traditional farming methods are very familiar to small-scale farmers in SA, and have sustained families for generations. However, if new farmers are to run profitable farming businesses, they need to ramp up their production and use modern methods for every step of the process — from choosing seeds and livestock to marketing their produce. Mentoring is crucial for these skills.
We are at a point in our history where, if all parties remain committed to solving the very substantial problems, there is a good chance of a turnaround.
Nyiko Maluleke CEO, Buhle Farmers’ Academy