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SONA #2 2019: Last opportunity to capitalise on public trust

Agri SA is optimistic about the State of the Nation Address (SONA), but this is the last opportunity for government to capitalise on the remaining public trust and deliver on its promises. The SONA delivered by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday night, is a frank admission of South Africa’s economic challenges. The steps announced to prevent further free-fall requires real and bold action. The government needs to ensure that it can deliver on the proposed economic interventions and must cooperate with the private sector.

Rural and farm safety remains a key concern and actual policing solutions will be required to address this national crisis.

“The SONA contains great ideas, but actual implementation is required to turn around the economy,” says Omri van Zyl, Agri SA Executive Director. “Sometimes it’s more about what is not said; it is significant that expropriation without compensation (EWC) was not mentioned. Of course, we cannot be complacent about the threat of EWC, but clearly the activities of civil society and Agri SA has made for greater understanding. We will continue to advocate our position with international trade and investment partners.”

The private sector is capable and ready to assist President Ramaphosa in realising the National Development Plan’s (NDP) development goals. It is critical that NDP is aligned with the challenges and opportunities of the 4th Industrial Revolution and Agri SA is poised to drive this imperative.

Agri SA has identified three areas where agriculture can add significant value to the economy:

1. Energy: Farmers can generate green energy through solar and wind power that will alleviate the pressure on the national energy grid.
2. Food security: In order to strengthen South Africa’s position as the breadbasket of Southern Africa, Agri SA is rolling out a comprehensive rural development solution to food security.
3. Market expansion: International trade creates economic growth and job opportunities. There are increasing international market opportunities available for South African produce. The coherent strategic support from government will multiply these trade opportunities.
“Agri SA is will continue to propose pragmatic solutions to the burning question of land reform,” says Christo van der Rheede, Agri SA Deputy Executive Director. “This includes elements such as the establishment of a cohort of new commercial farmers, the development of commercial agriculture in communal areas and the development of the green energy sector.”

Agri SA will continue to engage with President Ramaphosa and cabinet members on these important issues. We promote the development, profitability, stability and sustainability of agriculture in the interest of farmers, farmworkers, the farming community and South Africans.

Omri van Zyl
Agri SA Executive Director
(C) 082 417 5724

Christo van der Rheede
Agri SA Deputy Executive Director
(C) 083 380 3492