This was according to newly appointed agriculture minister Senzeni Zokwana, who addressed the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association’s Agribusiness and Food World Forum in Cape Town on Wednesday, 18 June.
Zokwana referred to President Zuma’s recent State of the Nation address in which Zuma identified agriculture as a key job driver, recommitting government to the target set out in the National Development Plan for the agriculture sector to create one million jobs by 2030.
Zokwana said that government could not create one million jobs in agriculture, it could only create an enabling environment in which it would be possible for the sector to grow and create jobs.
He also said more investment was needed to fund research and development that would help increase the global competiveness of the local farming sector and ensure that locally produced products met global demand trends and standards.
“We must produce smarter so that our products will be the preferred products on the international market,” he said.
Speaking about transformation in the sector, Zokwana said government policies here should be aligned to successful programmes that have been initiated by commodity organisations.
The farming sector should “not fear transformation”, but raise their concerns with government, he said.
Zokwana indicated that he would encourage robust dialogue between government and the agriculture sector to make sure those concerns that discouraged investment in the sector were properly addressed.
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