Farmers address market access

South Africa’s government is working hard at opening up markets for agricultural products, according to minister of agriculture Senzeni Zokwana.

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“We must ensure that as we open markets we are ready to participate,” he added.

But delegates attending the African Farmers of South Africa (AFASA) conference in Pretoria said they would not be able to make use of new markets as they can’t get their produce to the markets, abattoirs or silos due to the poor conditions of rural roads.

Zokwana admitted that infrastructure is one of the issues DRDALR and DAFF are talking about as they are aware that rural roads aren’t properly maintained.

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A poultry farmer from Limpopo lamented the fact that South Africa’s poultry industry is dominated by big poultry companies. This, he said, made it difficult for new entrants to gain a foothold in the market. Commercial banks are therefore reluctant to finance start-up poultry enterprises with one bank placing a moratorium on financing emerging poultry producers.

Zokwana said he was aware of the difficulties faced by the poultry industry, especially in the face of ‘chicken dumping’.