Gwede Mantashe to co-ordinate agriculture revival

Agriculture is such a complex industry that one ministry has difficulty co-ordinating all the functions involved.

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This was according to the deputy minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Dr Pieter Mulder. He was speaking at the Agriculture Sector Unity Forum meeting in Johannesburg today.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, attending the meeting along with most of the role players in the industry, from commercial farmers to smallholder and developing farmers, said it was an opportunity to share experiences across traditional divides.

The minister of agriculture Tina Joemat-Petterssen, also attended the meeting, along with representatives of Agri SA, TAU SA and the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa, among others.

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Mantashe said agriculture faced various challenges, including trade barriers, labour, land reform and research, which were all headed by different government departments. “We are trying to get the sectors to talk to each other and not talk past each other,” he said.

Mulder said Mantashe’s role in the Forum was to act as a co-ordinator between the different ministries of agriculture, trade and industry, water and environmental affairs, land reform and rural development and labour organisations.

He said agriculture was in the position to boost South Africa’s economy, if everyone worked together.

Mulder said uncertainty in agriculture could only be solved with policy certainty and through this meeting the industry showed government it was speaking with one voice.

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