Potential single organization for agri sector
From Fin24 (link)
“A single organisation for the agricultural sector is not on the radar yet, but agricultural organisations realise that they need to move closer together to be able to overcome the challenges.
The establishment of a Unity Forum for the agricultural sector is envisaged for November 16 instead of a full structural unit.
That was the conclusion reached by panellists in a debate on agricultural unity at the annual Agri Mega Week in Bredasdorp.
Former minister of agriculture Thoko Didiza says allowance must be made for the backgrounds of different groups.
Cobus Dowry, former Western Cape minister of agriculture and currently chair of the small-scale farmers’ organisation USAAA, says the forum should not be limited to organised agricultural organisations, but also include organisations like Shoprite’s agricultural unit which has a turnover of R4bn a year.
AgBiz chief executive Dr John Purchase says exclusivity is a dead-end street and ways need to be found to counter splintering in organised agriculture. The Unity Forum will create a platform on which matters of interest are debated, he says.
The agricultural sector should speak to government with a united voice, because it’s then more likely to be heard, he says. “Government will challenge the sector on transformation and we can handle this only by tackling it together.”
Agri SA president Johannes Möller explained how in the past the organisation had tried to bring about greater unity in the agricultural sector and that it had recently been decided it should be more representative and inclusive.
He says industry organisations like Grain South Africa, the Wool Growers’ Association and the Cane Growers Association, have more black members than white and that is the direction Agri SA will also take.
Grain SA chair Louw Steytler emphasised the realisation of Constitutional principles and pleaded for the removal of race from the agricultural debate so that food can be produced.
At a separate meeting Dowry and Mike Malengena of agricultural organisation Asafa signed a cooperation agreement with a view to merging the two black organisations on October 1 this year.”
University of Cape Town