The potential of smallholder farmers needs to be unlocked.
The South African government believes that the key to food security lies in investing in smallholder agriculture and has committed to pumping R5.5 billion of the national budget to support 435 000 subsistence and smallholder farmers over the next three years[i]. The government has also committed itself to expand the 200 000 smallholder producers who sell their produce to 500 000 smallholders by 2020.[ii]
In fact, according to South Africa’s development blueprint, the National Development Plan, agriculture is a significant sector in the South African economy and has the potential to create close to one million new jobs by 2030.[iii] Smallholder farmers are expected to play a significant role in this, both in terms of poverty alleviation and rural development for South Africa’s rural economies and moreover contribute to the sustainability of food supply. The key to this is to get smallholder farmers to become commercially viable by creating return on investment which can be invested to grow their farming practices.
It is also important to note that agriculture contributed 33.6% to the GDP growth of 2.5% in the second quarter, helping the economy to emerge from a technical recession, following GDP contractions over two consecutive quarters earlier this year.