by Debbie Liberthal

Food for thought

Without solid management, all costs incurred in growing the agricultural sector will be lost

Sound management is required to grow the agricultural sector in SA

The Land Bank has committed to making approximately R75 million available for black small-scale farmers, The National Agricultural Marketing Council will receive R99.2 million, the Land and Agricultural Development Bank of SA, R99.8 million, and the government has guaranteed that by 2013, over 2 000 farmers will be trained in cost-effective farming methods, as well as assisting in planning for economic growth and job creation.

While new measures to kick-start the development of co-operatives through capacity building and responsible financial support measures will be undertaken, the dichotomy is that even with the latest funding and ground level training, there is a dire shortage of managerial capacity, knowledge, skill, expertise, poor executive decisions, weak governance and accountability.

All these factors translate into poor business practices. In order for this multi-million rand industry to flourish, be sustainable and continue creating jobs, it is common knowledge that the catalyst to survival, growth and the creation of healthy organisations that are well positioned to compete in any industry is strong management and competent leadership. This alone can convert the disorganised resources of people, money, materials and machinery into a productive enterprise.

While some underestimate the importance of management in business, the latest research has shown that it is certainly not the case. The input of the labour, capital and raw materials can never become production without the enabler: management. 

Management is a dynamic life-giving element in any organisation, and in its absence, the resources of production remain underutilised and can never become production.

In the absence of management, an organisation is merely a collection of people, money, materials and machinery. A company can only go as far as the long-term vision that is set for it by the managing team, who are responsible for ensuring the company has a sustainable business model that can last for 20 to 30 years into the future.

Management is responsible for seizing opportunities that may exist in a market and positioning a business to capitalise on these opportunities. An exceptional management team is proactive and responds quickly to change, thus giving an organisation an advantage over competitors.

Effective management creates teamwork and team spirit in an organisation, by developing a sound organisational structure. It brings the human and material resources together and motivates the people for the achievement of goals.

The available resources of production are put to use in such a way that all sorts of wastages and inefficiencies are reduced to a minimum. If managers are not considerate and good at their job, nothing worthwhile can be expected of the subordinates.

The motivation level of the employees is directly related to good management. Management creates and maintains an environment conducive to higher efficiency and performance.

While funding and grassroots training will definitely assist and improve the agricultural sector. Without solid management teams in place, the money and resources will be wasted and there will be an influx of unemployed people throughout the country. This is something that has to be avoided at all costs.

Debbie Lieberthal

MD of Umkhonto Labour Holdings

+27 (011) 025 7845

+27 (0) 82 653 3802

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Issue 46


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