Fin24

Departing farmers not a threat: minister

2011-05-03 15:43

Cape Town - The departure of South African commercial farmers to other African countries is not a threat to local food security, Agriculture Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said on Tuesday.

"This will not be a threat to food security in South Africa; instead, this will enhance food security in the continent," she told journalists in Cape Town, at the end of a one-day International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) conference.

Asked whether she thought land reform posed a threat to food security, given reports that commercial farmers were leaving the country in large numbers, Joemat-Pettersson said such farmers should use South Africa as a base.

"We are not advocating the movement of farmers lock stock and barrel from South Africa... We want to encourage our farmers to maintain their base in South Africa... and then expand their business from here.

"In one aspect, we're encouraging them to set up... in other countries as a means of expanding their businesses.

"South Africa has skills it can share with other South Africans and with the rest of the continent," she said.

Last month, AgriSA reported that of the 120 000 commercial farmers in South Africa in 1994, only 37 000 remained.

AgriSA vice president Theo de Jager said at the time that South Africa was now starting to import grains such as wheat. It was also on the brink of importing meat and poultry, which was being produced less and less in the country.

Reasons for farmers leaving - to neighbouring states such as Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among others - included new laws, unionisation and the threat of land reform.

Speaking at the start of the IFAD conference, Joemat-Pettersson said Sub-Saharan Africa had the highest incidence of rural poverty in the world, but there was a growing belief it could produce enough food to not only feed its citizens, but also export a surplus.

IFAD is a specialised agency of the UN. It was established as an international financial institution in 1977, with the aim of eradicating rural poverty in developing countries.

Among those who attended the one day conference - which looked at agriculture as a means of advancing economic growth on the continent, as well increasing world food security - are agricultural ministers from several African countries.

Joemat-Pettersson said African countries had been channelling more resources into agriculture, looking to increase such investments to ten percent of their national budget.

"There is growing belief that Africa could produce enough to not only feed its own citizens, but to export a growing surplus.

"Africa can make a real contribution to ensuring food security to the world while also growing its own economy and pulling its citizens out of poverty."

Earlier she highlighted what she called "bleak" regional statistics.

These included that in sub Saharan Africa more than three quarters of the poor - those living on less that US$1.25 a day - lived in rural areas.

"Sub Saharan Africa, with the highest incidences of rural poverty, is the region worst affected by poverty and hunger," she said.

 

Comments
  • Slapper - 2011-05-03 16:12

    Is this a joke? Its exactly what was said in Zimbabwe 10 years ago, only to see the country receive huge amounts of Aid, or they would starve. What a load of Tripe, but typical of these guys who will say next that "We are different"

      Creeky - 2011-05-03 21:48

      Whaen a farmer can get $4-00 for a CABBAGE on the international market.. how can South Africa benifit from paying R28-00 a Cabbage? Is this person just THICK or PLAIN STUPID? Come to Europe and see the "AFRICAN" produce on the shelves.... then you see what South Africans will be paying for fresh produce and Fruit... Doubt if this silly person UNDERSTANDS that food is sold in DOLLARS and not South African cents!!!!!!!! OK MAAR LEKKER STUPID!!!!

  • jock van wyk - 2011-05-03 16:12

    Bob magabe said the same thing and his people were dying from starvation within a year.

  • Gorilla - 2011-05-03 16:15

    "We are not advocating the movement of farmers lock stock and barrel from South Africa... We want to encourage our farmers to maintain their base in South Africa... and then expand their business from here" Is this woman an idiot? Farmers are leaving because they feel that the government of the day does not uphold their rights or look after their security. They are being murdered on a daily basis, and the people in charge just shrug their shoulders. Malema is given free reign to take the stand in a hate speech trial that is being televised to the streets to preach his war mongering liberal socialist drivel while the same government doesn't say a word. Now tell me; what farmer in his right mind would say "Hey lookee here! What a rosy future!"

      YasButIDunno - 2011-05-03 17:23

      Yessir, she is an idiot and a raving communist into the bargain which is even more proof that she is an idiot. Obviously her recent junket to the USA hasn't taught her anything, come to think of it none of us taxpayers were given a report-back on that trip which we financed. She should head on back to Sweden.

  • gaaatvol - 2011-05-03 16:15

    Amazing comment by the minister! Astounding!

  • Judith - 2011-05-03 16:16

    So long as the government does not support emerging farmers, we will have the threat of food insecurity. The government does not understand farming and is showing little interest in learning

  • cromagnon - 2011-05-03 16:16

    This is odd, apparently our country is rich in possibility, but the ruling government, as well as random thugs and murderers, is making sure that the people who knows how to farm, cant farm.

  • InternetMan - 2011-05-03 16:22

    I dont think OUR agriculture minister should be thinking about saving the world. Rather focus on helping the people who pay your damn salary.

  • FarmerBrown - 2011-05-03 16:25

    Correction Mrs Minister Farmers are leaving the African continent. There is no plan to fill their shoes. Roll on the UN food program ... Africa needs you.

  • Logs01 - 2011-05-03 16:26

    Tina has NO Clue...!!! No pill to fix stupidity. SHe will have to die stupid

  • clark - 2011-05-03 16:27

    - Famous last words from another Anc dimwit . Has this women got any clue how vital a prosperous agricultural sector is to a country, especially to the likes of SA. Just goes to show that the Anc is a total shambles, if you compare this idiots statement to Gordhan's one just yesterday. Not a day goes by in this country without the Anc putting another nail in this country's coffin. I doubt, in the history of governments, there has ever been a more useless one than these Anc idiots.

  • Kevin - 2011-05-03 16:27

    These ministers should all be spin doctors...how is it possible that food security will not be threatened should the majority of our farmers leave for greener pastures.Does she honestly believe that when these professionals become economically commercially sound further north that we'd benefit.How??We're almost importing most staple foods today...how is this going to improve our lot into the future????Another misinformed member of the government spouting tripe!!!

  • Pencilgraffiti - 2011-05-03 16:27

    So the first step in raising the living standards in Sub-Saharan Africa is by happily letting the expertise go? To think you're keeping that wealth of knowledge in Africa is also just stupid. Many farmers are leaving for AUS, NZ, South America and the South of Russia..

  • Wolff - 2011-05-03 16:28

    Ja Tina, by the time you feel the effect of a shortage of food on your table, you will be in retirement with a huge monthly pension......oblivious to the needs of the people who voted you into power.

  • E.Nuff - 2011-05-03 16:28

    Apparently it is not only ostriches that bury their heads in the sand.

  • AA - 2011-05-03 16:31

    That is exactly what Robert.......

  • Pencilgraffiti - 2011-05-03 16:31

    So the first step in raising the living standards in Sub-Saharan Africa is by happily letting the expertise go? To think you're keeping that wealth of knowledge in Africa is also just stupid. Many farmers are leaving for AUS, NZ, South America and the South of Russia..

  • Fred - 2011-05-03 16:37

    Ms Agriculture Minister, I hope that when you, sorry, your people, are starving, that you will still feel the same way about our commercial farmers leaving. Obviously if you are still an ANC bigwig at that time you certainly won't starve, but the people that you took an oath of office to serve will be starving. Naturally you wouldn't care, but maybe you won't be in office and you may join the starving millions, then you will probably not be so confident.

  • AceOfSpades - 2011-05-03 16:39

    "There is growing belief that Africa could produce enough to not only feed its own citizens, but to export a growing surplus." So we've gone from growing grain to growing belief. What an apt summary of the situation. Guess I'll be having a belief sandwich for lunch soon.

  • AceOfSpades - 2011-05-03 16:41

    "There is growing belief that Africa could produce enough to not only feed its own citizens, but to export a growing surplus." So we've gone from growing grain to growing belief. What an apt summary of the situation. Guess I'll be having a belief sandwich for lunch soon.

  • Freddie - 2011-05-03 16:42

    Spin doctoring at its worst, that is not a lightning bolt about to hit you, it is just the cloud's silver lining... yeah right. When will the ANC wake up realise not all voters are impressionable, gullible sheeple?

  • michaelp1 - 2011-05-03 16:42

    Surely the fact that South Africa became a net importer of food recently should have set the alarm bells ringing!!?? The Minister neatly sidesteps that and says the farmers will be 'good for the Continent'. Dear Minister you are the Minsiter of Agriculture in South Africa NOT the African Union!! You should put South Africa first - but unfortunately doing so will show up the negative impact the ANC Land Policy has on this country..

  • Pencilgraffiti - 2011-05-03 16:45

    So the first step in raising the living standards in Sub-Saharan Africa is by happily letting the expertise go? To think you're keeping that wealth of knowledge in Africa is also just stupid. Many farmers are leaving for AUS, NZ, South America and the South of Russia..

  • WiseOwl2 - 2011-05-03 16:46

    In what century is this lady living ???????

  • Asquared - 2011-05-03 16:46

    of the 120000 farmers in 1994 only 37000 left this is shocking , but they dont seem concerned it reminds me of an interveiw with the old ceo of eskom i remember he wasnt to concerned either and look what happened

  • Hartmut - 2011-05-03 16:47

    I have visited lately some rural areas in Kwa Zulu - Natal. The state of a lot of the agricultural land there is hopeless. Nobody works the land and nobody wants to work there either. I wonder if out honorable minister has an idea where our food is coming from?

  • ian - 2011-05-03 16:47

    wake up you moron zimbabwe lost its farmers to different countries and the benifit the contries received needs no justification.Zambia exported maise for the first time in 35 years Zimbabwe not a net importer. YOU CANNOT LOSE FARMERS AND EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO FEED THE MASSES. but then feeding yourself is never an issue

  • Gardener - 2011-05-03 16:48

    Tina, what are you smoking, sniffing or drinking????

  • JBP - 2011-05-03 16:50

    IT IS NOT A THREAT, IT IS A LOOMING DISASTER..

  • FaxtoEmail - 2011-05-03 16:51

    How does that make sense: "Last month, AgriSA reported that of the 120 000 commercial farmers in South Africa in 1994, only 37 000 remained." Yet.... "Reasons for farmers leaving - to neighbouring states such as Malawi..... included new laws, unionisation and the threat of land reform" Yet it seems everyone has accepted this and are not addressing the true issues, and speak of a pipe dream where surplus are exported? Is this just some propgandist mambo-jambo with no real sustainability, or do they truly believe this and have an actual implementation roadmap?

  • Gardener - 2011-05-03 16:51

    Tina, what are you smoking, sniffing or drinking?????

  • Lump of coal - 2011-05-03 16:52

    What does a communist know about farming in Africa ??

  • 106SA - 2011-05-03 16:53

    So typical of 'ANC' comment/stance!!Simply put...South Africa will be a net importer of food by 2020!!!!!!!

      carjan - 2011-05-03 18:10

      No Sir/Madam - by 2015 or soon thereafter. and the Anc is enthusiastically contributing towards that. Watch it - big problems regarding food in future. She now plays for the audience.

  • Tank24 - 2011-05-03 16:56

    Interesting how she refers to them as "our" farmers. If they are "your" farmers why not protect them a bit better?

  • Renny - 2011-05-03 17:01

    Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson you must have your head read, you speak utter nonsense.

  • Wollie - 2011-05-03 17:03

    Joemat-Pettersson is like her counter part in denial. Mark my words, it will not be long then her replacement will acknowledge this and will be full of excuses as to why they then will have to retrain / recrute farmers. It is going to be a sad day for SA. Be worn.

  • 50something - 2011-05-03 17:04

    The question that needs to be asked is how many NEW successful farmers have emerged since 1994 to make up for the 120K that left? I am sure it is a fraction. With only 25% of our commercial farmers left, how can it not have an impact on food security? Or is it a case again of "there is no crisis"? The minister should wake up - we need those skills in SA, not the DRC or Malawi or wherever the experienced farmers have gone. no farmer is going to have his "base" in SA if the government is making it nearly impossible to operate here.

  • Gido - 2011-05-03 17:08

    The minister is confusing me.. rural poverty is on the increase because of job losses in the farming sector and and yet farms closing down is not a problem for the minister.. i'm getting really tired of these people!

  • 50something - 2011-05-03 17:11

    How can you not be concerned about food security if 75% of your commercial farmers have left the country. I am very sure that we have not replaced even a fraction of the 120K farmers that left with new SUCCESSFUL farmers. The minister must wake up. Is this another case of "there is no crisis"? No farmer is going to make SA his base if the government makes it nearly impossible to operate here. We need the skills here in SA, not in the DRC or Malawi.

  • Tiwonge - 2011-05-03 17:12

    Another I'aint seen drivel. Denial, denial, denial, denial. sticking your head in the sand like an ostritch. One of the reasons i will give the DA my vote!

  • BernieK - 2011-05-03 17:19

    Wait. Just wait Tina, oh just wait you idiot. Then we talk again.

  • Mac - 2011-05-03 17:28

    How thick is this?

  • Ross - 2011-05-03 17:30

    We don't need farmers. We buy our food from the factories and if they run out, the white trucks with the UN markings will bring food.

  • el_namibian - 2011-05-03 17:34

    Ignorance is also not a threat :D

  • scud - 2011-05-03 17:35

    If you want stupid,embarrassing statements then simply ask an ANC cabinet minister. They never fail to talk absolute nonsense. It must be compulsory in the party to have a low IQ

  • YasButIDunno - 2011-05-03 17:37

    Yessir, this woman is a well-fed idiot and a raving communist into the bargain which is even more proof that she is an idiot. Obviously her recent junket to the USA hasn't taught her anything, come to think of it none of us taxpayers were given a report-back on that trip which we financed. She should head on back to Sweden if they'll have her.

  • awwgee - 2011-05-03 17:38

    Wow - another case of "what crisis"!!! You only have to go to your local supermarket and see the number of "farming" items that are now imported into SA. The fact that the number of farmers has reduced drastically should be of major concern. Who is goign to produce food for this country - are we goign to import it all?

  • RIMRIM - 2011-05-03 17:39

    Kill the Boer Kill the food supply Kill the economy Africa 1 - 0 Common Sense

  • braveinternetguy - 2011-05-03 17:41

    The reason she's not worried is because corporations like MONSANTO are promising her "hands-free farming"! Genetically modified crops are being rejected wholesale by other countries...but in Africa, the road to success is paved with bribes and corruption. THE ANC WILL HAVE US EATING MAN-MADE FOODS SOON!

  • discontented - 2011-05-03 17:50

    Why is there a direct measurable correlation between the increase in rural poverty and the exodus of white farmers from post-colonial Sub-Saharan Africa? Ms Minister, when will you and the ANC Ruling party learn from the history of Africa?

  • Madelane - 2011-05-03 17:53

    What a fiasco this government is with this type of shallow observation. JM is doing a stirling job of chasing away farmers and killing those who resist. Our food security is going the same was as JM's hero Mad Bob.

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