Potchefstroom – The stakeholder engagement workshop headed by the North-West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development hosted representatives from the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), University of Pretoria (UP) and PepsiCo Inc at the Potchefstroom Agricultural College on the 10th of November 2023. Key to the conversation of these stakeholders was the agricultural value chain as well as funding opportunities within the sector.
The robust discussions on the “Rapid change in South African beef chains: A case study of the North-West Province,” a research study currently being conducted by Dr Dani Jordaan from the University of Pretoria included departmental economists and managers. According to Dr Jordaan the evolution of the beef value chain over decades being driven by the continuous increase of consumption as income rise. “This is attributed to the lower calorie-dense starchy staples and relatively more nutrient-dense meats, oils, fruit and vegetables diet. Thus the high demand of beef causing the triple increase in retailing through supermarkets and food services footprint,” explained Jordaan.
The UP representative highlighted various opportunities within this farming sub-sector, however large capital is required to ensure the sustainability and profitability of these businesses, especially black farmers who often find themselves with limited funding or lack of access to markets. NAMC also presented on the Cassava value chain and the economic overview of strategic crops opportunities.
In order to address the access to markets and funding challenges, Mr Diale from PepsiCo spoke on the Kgodiso Development Fund’s Agricultural Development which aims to transform the South African agricultural landscape by developing a new generation of sustainable farming enterprises and prioritises impacts across the full value chain through increased access to education, finance and mentorship for women, youth, and black South Africans. The Fund empowers black farmers through funding, business development, increased access to market and is committed to building the professional capacity of emerging black farmers while increasing the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices to build farmer resilience.
PepsiCo’s contract farming opportunity is one of the opportunities that align with department’s strategic objectives in terms of facilitating market access for small-holder farmers.
This engagement is another step in the right direction as MEC Desbo Mohono has committed the Department to ensure a collaborative effort in its service offerings. “We are facing significant challenges of high unemployment, weak economic growth prospects, rising poverty and inequality. Agriculture is one resilient sector and empowerment is key for farmers and prospective ones. We therefore need to attract investment in the sector so that our farmers can be not only be looking into government for support but from partners as well, “ MEC concluded.
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