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Lack of policy certainty a big challenge in agriculture - expert

Nov 27 2018 21:06
Carin Smith, Fin24

Lack of policy certainty is often raised in relation to agriculture in Africa, according to Robert Besseling, executive director of EXX Africa - a political, economic and security risk consultancy.

He was speaking at the African Agri investment Indaba in Cape Town on Tuesday. 

"Policy certainty is key," he said. "De-risking is key to attract investments to the agriculture sector on the continent."

Dealing with corruption is another key issue. "Western Cape farmers I have spoken to say they are worried about water, land rights and the minimum wage," said Besseling. "The issue of water is crucial for development and the role of government when it comes to policy making is also very important," he explained.

During a panel discussion Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Beverley Schäfer said for every rand spent on land reform, one almost needs to spend another rand on supporting emerging farmers.

"In the Western Cape it is very important for us that land reform issues adjust the injustices of the past, but one must ensure the emerging farmers succeed. That is an important focus for us. That is why we take land reform seriously in this province," she said.

The Cape Town Air Access project, aimed at further boosting the tourism industry in the Western Cape by increasing the number of direct flights to the Mother City, had an added positive consequence for the agriculture sector, she added.

Due to the increased number of direct flights, the cargo capacity also expanded, bringing more opportunities for the export of agricultural products from the province.

George Ayisi Boateng, High Commissioner of Ghana in South Africa, another member of the panel, said corruption is pervasive and can be found anywhere, but that the fight against corruption is also high in countries like Ghana.

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