Land reform has, for the most part, been somewhat in limbo since Cyril Ramaphosa became president in 2018. But the recent announcement by Minister Thoko Didiza of the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform (agriculture department) that 896 farms, measuring 700 000ha, of underutilised or vacant state land would be made available to the public has certainly got the ball rolling on land reform.
The re-evaluation of government spending, although much needed, will not be enough to address South Africa’s immense economic challenges. There also needs to be stronger political will and leadership to address poor implementation, writes Dr John Purchase, CEO of the Agricultural Business Chamber.
Tshepo Moloi and Prof Johann Kirsten of the Bureau for Economic Research at Stellenbosch University suggest that a zero-based budgeting approach could offer an opportunity to reassess the role of the state in rural development.
While growth and development initiatives have tended to focus on growing the commercial farming sector, a new school of thought argues for the coexistence of smallholder and commercial farmers to achieve household-level food security in South Africa, writes Dr Sifiso Ntombela, chief economist at the National Agricultural Marketing Council.
The positive growth trend in agricultural GDP so far this year has failed to translate into an increase in employment in the agriculture sector.
Scientists have recently observed signs of possible life in the thick cloud cover that envelopes our neighbouring planet, Venus.
There weren’t many surprises, nor much good news, among the second-quarter (Q2) GDP results that were released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) during the second week of September.
August has passed and with it we bid goodbye to the month which, every year, is marked by numerous overtures to women, some earnest and some opportunistic, as companies, organisations and government endeavour to celebrate the role of women in society, and to highlight the challenges they still face in their work and personal lives.
There are a few common threads that run through most stories of those people who have, over the past 25 years, benefitted from one of South Africa’s land reform and agricultural transformation programmes.
For most industries, 2020 will probably be a particularly bad year with an abrupt fall in performance, but this should be followed by some degree of recovery in the near future.
One of the great things about being an agricultural journalist during this time of crisis is that we often still get to report good news, thanks to the victories being achieved in the sector despite the general sense of doom surrounding our country’s economic and political future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of agriculture in South Africa and across the continent because of the sector’s capacity to support economic growth, create and sustain jobs, and boost exports, writes Roux Wildenboer, head of agriculture at Absa Corporate and Investment Banking.