“The farmer is the most important person I deal with. You have my support and the government is listening to you,” said Mlengana at the Agri Limpopo Congress which is currently underway in Modimolle.
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He said he was worried about the decline in the number of commercial farmers in South Africa. According to Statistics South Africa, the number of commercial farmers has decreased from 120 000 in 1950 to about 37 000 today.
He asked organisations representing farmers in the country to develop growth strategies for the commercial sector. “Please bring proposals to me. There is no strategy for commercial agriculture,” he said.
Such a strategy was important to ensure commercial agriculture achieved more growth and increased its contribution to the country’s gross domestic product. The focus on smallholder farmer development does not mean that the commercial sector should be neglected, said Mlengana.