It’s not only farmers who have to adapt to the fundamental changes occurring in world agriculture, or go out of business. Agricultural economists also have to adapt. This is the warning from Bongiswa Matoti, president of the Agricultural Economists’ Association of South Africa.
Many agricultural economists believe that the world, including its agricultural sector, is moving from structural to fundamental change.
This will reshape value chains, business models, governments and employment, and affect the way we live and relate to one another.
As it is, farmers everywhere have already begun experiencing significant changes in markets, demand, food security, climate and technology.
Since about 2010, agricultural markets appear to have seen a reversal of trade liberalisation and openness. Adding to the uncertainty surrounding this trend are issues such as Brexit.
Here in South Africa, we don’t know what will happen with the SA/US AGOA agreement.
Will we see more protectionism in global agricultural trade? No-one knows, but time will tell.