The citrus industry is SA’s largest employer of unskilled labour. Picture: THINKSTOCK
The citrus industry is SA’s largest employer of unskilled labour. Picture: THINKSTOCK

The largely untapped potential of the agricultural industry to create jobs and grow SA's revenue was rightly identified by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his second state of the nation address (Sona) — but we need more than just magnanimous commitments if we’re to realise our opportunities in a constructive and sustainable manner.

While small developing farmers are now promised support to fully mature their businesses, for nearly 20 years, the Grower Development Company of the Citrus Growers’ Association has participated in government initiatives focused on the transformation of the agricultural sector. This includes the capacitation of black growers through meaningful mentorship and training exposures across the full spectrum of thriving citrus-farming businesses.

We will continue to work with the government to ensure that black citrus growers can confidently and successfully participate in a modern agricultural economy — not only contributing to domestic food security and securing their own livelihoods, but also helping to realise our industry’s vast export capabilities.

The positive tone of this year’s Sona was heartening and we commit to working with the government to reach this year’s top five goals: more jobs and inclusive growth, better education, improving the lives of poor people, eradicating corruption and improving service delivery.

Lukhanyo Nkombisa
General manager, Citrus Growers’ Association Grower Development Company