Calls for state’s help as poverty threatens

Government should focus on the provision of sustainable economic growth within the emerging farming sector by providing services such as farm-to-market
linkages and trade and investment promotion, believes Basie Ruben Ntsimane, one of three Grain SA Emerging Grain Producer of the Year finalists. Fidelis Zvomuya speaks to him about meaningful returns for this sector.

Between the two organisations he receives extension services as, he says, government’s extension services are not readily available.“My input costs is normally between R400 and R500 per hectare and government pays 40% of this amount as part of a grant, which is a welcome development. This assistance is now in its second year and I hope it will continue. In future, I aim to increase my annual production by 30% until I can buy my own farm,” he says.

Basie has learned valuable lessons since he started working with Grain SA. He has seen that ¬linking farmers with markets provides information about the supply chain and keeps them up to date on the market’s requirements.He calls on government to expand the emerging sector’s access to irrigated farmland. ”They must help to improve farmers’ land management skills and farming techniques so that soil quality can be preserved and improved for future generations.

“Government must work with the private sector and invest in rural infrastructure such as dams, roads, railways, storage and processing facilities, markets, communication systems and reliable supply networks for farmers.” |fw

Basie plants around 5ha of maize exlusively for his family and workers’ needs, but says there are many emerging farmers who cannot feed themselves. ’Many of us have sunk deeper into poverty as the sector continues to face neglect.’