by Marlon Abrahams

Policy Matters

Nation in Conversation

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The third and final session of the second day of Nation in Conversation focussed on Policy Matters and was hosted by Theo Vorster, CEO of Galileo Capital, while the discussion panel consisted of Jannie de Villiers, CEO of Grain SA; Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz; Hamish McBain, Retired Executive Director of Tiger Brands; and TP Nchocho, CEO of Land Bank.

Filmed at Nampo Harvest Day in Bothaville, the discussion kept pace with the previous sessions in terms of lively discourse on eminently relevant issues in agriculture.

The panel was of the opinion that South Africa was on the brink of a political shift, and that the agri-sector needed to manage the changes it wants for itself, by itself.

Hamish said we have reason to be alarmed: “We’re in injury time now, in the last ten years we’ve been going downwards in terms of losing farmers and non-investment by farmers...ideally we want to see agriculture growing because the population of our country, and Africa, is growing and someone is going to have to feed everyone.”

The panel agreed that there were some “good policies in place, but the problem arose in the implementation of these policies.”

Hamish shared information from a presentation he hosted in China on land reform and said that the nine regions in the world that participated in a survey, reported a common reason for failure of land reform as being the lack of private sector partnership in the area of training.

“In South Africa we have the added dynamic that there is a trust deficit between government, farmers and the private sector. The other two issues the survey revealed that were common challenges to the nine regions, were a need for macro finance and the need for facilitated communication between the different stakeholders. We should learn from this,” said Hamish.

Jannie added that the National Development Plan made provision for 20% transfer of land. “This is acceptable because each year 13% of farm land comes into the market, however finance has not been made available to acquire these farms.”

TP Nchocho responded to the lack of financial aid issue by saying that Land Bank would respond to economically viable funding requests. “The role of the Land Bank is to provide finance with a goal, and our goal is to provide money to enlarge the development cake, also to effect social change....the issues of policy and its lack of implementation affects the bank insofar as the loan and the policies have to work in harmony, if it does not...policies have an impact on financial flows.”

Click on the links below to view the entire programme.

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