Farmers have a key role to play

Smaller farmers have a key role to play in maintaining South Africa’s food security

Agriculture plays a key role in the country’s economy and society, but experts say more needs to be done to bridge the gap between small-scale and commercial producers.

‘South Africa has abundant natural resources to be able to ensure national and regional food security and smaller farmers have a key role to play,” says Praveen Dwarika, managing director of Lemang Agricultural Services, a subsidiary of Afgri Agri Services.

Yet the little guys are simply a step behind larger corporations, he says, including how they struggle to access credit lines and financial services. Government funding assists, but is often not ongoing and steady, and the liquidity challenges of the Land Bank and funding reprioritisation during the Covid-19 pandemic significantly added to this strain.

Maluta Netshaulu, senior manager for agriculture at Nedbank, says that those who do access funding often struggle to grow and expand beyond this one type of support and may become grant dependent.