Investing in small scale farmers increases base production: Pandor

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Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor has made a call for the private sector to invest more in emerging farmers.

Speaking on the side-lines at the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Business Forum in Cape Town, Pandor says South Africa has to improve on its contribution in developing emerging farmers to being commercial in the country.

“If we could have more private sector investment in smaller farmers rather than the large commercial farmers, we will increase the base of production and that is what we are trying to attract investment to, but it is not only at the level of production, but it is also in processing.”

Among other focus areas at the business forum is Agriculture, it is one of the topics topping the agenda on the second day of the three-day event that started on Sunday.

MIST Agricultural Laboratory (MISTAL) Co-founder and CEO of Maria Shipapo says different forms of investment will help enhance productivity.

“The production of food starts with farmers. Capacitating farmers with various forms of investment such as inputs and processing equipment will enhance their productivity and further stimulate the agricultural value chains. Investing in small holder farmers is crucial for food security to be achieved on the continent,” Shipapo says.

Based in Namibia, MISTAL works closely with emerging small-scale farmers and offers soil testing services with complementary agricultural programs, rainwater harvesting guidance and integrated pest management services.

AFCFTA provides a platform for public-private engagements in a bid to unlock trade and investment opportunities on the continent.