Speaking to Farmer’s Weekly, Vink said that most countries have an established support system for agriculture that assists with credit, infrastructure development and market access, and that South Africa’s government needed to focus on creating such structures.
“In the previous regime we had such structures, but it focused only on commercial farmers. With the transition to a new government, […] there isn’t a system to assist anyone [anymore]. [N]ew farmers, existing black farmers [and] commercial farmers are [not] assisted. It is a priority that such a system is revitalised,” Vink said.
Vink added that important programmes, like land reform, would not succeed unless such a system was created, as stakeholders who wanted to become involved in land reform projects needed to know how government would assist them.
“The sector doesn’t have the ability to source [the] necessary skills. It isn’t always agricultural skills, but economic or managerial skills that is needed,” Vink said.
Vink said that the SARB constitution required that some of its non-executive directors were appointed by the state, while the others were appointed by its shareholders.
“As a director, one is responsible for the country’s monetary stability, and an agricultural economist can help assess how SARB’s decisions influence agriculture and vice-versa,” Vink said.
Vink joined Stellenbosch University as a professor in agricultural economics in 1996, after 11 years at the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
He specialises in agricultural and agribusiness development policy, land reform and empowerment, agricultural marketing, and tax and international trade issues.