Africa the world’s “leading area” for farming development

Africa the world’s “leading area” for farming development
Dan Hennesy, vice president of the US-based Land O’ Lakes member-owned, agricultural co-operative, said South Africa would be their “landing point” for investment in agriculture in Africa. Photo: FW Archive

The South African agriculture sector is advanced, creative and entrepreneurial.

This was according to Dan Hennessy, vice president of the Land O’ Lakes member-owned, agricultural co-operative, based in Minnesota in the US.

Speaking during the 2020 Agri SA virtual congress, Hennesy said political instability was the most worrying factor affecting South African agriculture, but commended the resilience of the country’s farmers.

For example, he said they had adapted to climate change and continued to produce food sustainably, despite a number of climatic challenges such as recent multi-year droughts.

South Africa was a “landing point” for the co-operative in its expansion drive to the rest of the African continent.

“Over the next five to 10 years, we would in all probability be looking at Africa as [being] the world’s leading area for agriculture, based on the increase in demand on the continent, [which] would support increased supply.”

Insight and efficiency would become much more important for primary producers in the future in their quest to continue producing food and fibre sustainably.

Insight, as he put it, referred to converting the vast amount of information that had become available through digital media into sound decision-making at farm level.

“Efficiency has [also] become much more important as part of the integrated supply chain to provide the information farmers need to deal with [shrinking] margins. Input costs are rising and farmers need to know what to plant on each hectare of land,” he said.