Over the past few decades, there has been debate about whether our planet’s most recent changes are man-made or part of a natural cycle. Whatever a farmer’s belief on the subject, it would be foolish to not do everything possible to adapt to a changing production environment.
However, adaption is not always possible without financial resources, as any struggling small-scale farmer will tell you.
Yes, the idea of ‘adapt or die’ can be demoralising, but the fact that society, and even nature, is in constant flux can also be uplifting, especially when you’ve hit rock bottom.
Take the current drought in South Africa as an example. At the moment, the country is in the midst of a dry spell, but the law of nature requires that it has to rain – at some point. Are you a citizen who is unhappy with our current political regime, our economic model, or any status quo for that matter? Well, rest assured that it all will change – at some point.
Unfortunately, there are those who want to bring about change through violence. However, these extremists will always be balanced by moderates. The problem is of course that, by their very nature, the reactions of moderates tend to be moderate.
You will not find them guillotining aristocrats, toppling statues or strapping C-4 to their bodies.
Extreme groups are therefore bound to have the upper hand at some time. What determines the length of their reign is how quickly the moderates make their numbers start counting.
Through all the turmoil of change, whatever shape or form it may take, runs the golden threat of the most basic of human needs: food. Rulers, economic and societal models, drought and floods will come and go, but through it all one thing remains a constant – the need to eat.
The trouble is that in an age of plenty, where people have become so removed from agriculture, access to food is taken for granted. People don’t realise how their actions in the political, economic or society spheres, among others, can affect food production.
It is the agricultural sector’s responsibility to make the rest of the world understand what is required to ensure sustainability.
Yes, the sector can adapt and has adapted. However, many South African farmers are nearing a point where their livelihoods are becoming economically unviable.
Something will have to change, but what should that be? And will it happen in time?