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Nation in Conversation – Focus on SADC (The South African Development Community)

  • 23 May 2016
  • 1958
  •  Nation in Conversation
  •  nampo-2016

The final session of day three of Nation in Conversation at Nampo Harvest Day ended on a passionate note when the panel discussed opportunities for agriculture in other African countries. 
Theo de Jager gave a passionate account about South African farmers operating in other African countries. “Forty two African countries have approached South African agricultural unions, asking them to share their skills and expertise in farming on the continent. 
We need to understand that South African farmers are not leaving South Africa, but they are expanding into Africa. What’s exciting is that Africans want fellow Africans to help them and South African farmers understand Africa better than, say, the Chinese or Indians. Also, what I’ve discovered, is that North of the Zambesi white South African farmers are regarded as fellow Africans.”
Theo Vorster cautioned however, that “the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. If you can’t make it in South Africa, you won’t make it in the rest of Africa.”
Bonani added his voice to the caution by saying, there are “real challenges in Africa in terms of logistics and bureaucracy. It will take you 5 days by sea to transport a shipment of apples from Cape Town to Brazzaville, however, it will take you ten days to get it cleared at customs, and then you have to pay to get through several informal road tollgates to get your product to where you need it to be.”
Theo de Jager said that South African farmers understand the peculiarities of Africa. “We have the patience.”
Asked about what was needed to succeed in the rest of Africa, Jacob responded by saying: “You have to play by the rules of the country, if it takes 3 weeks to get something moved, those are the rules and you need to play within those rules.”
Theo de Jager said that there were real opportunities in African countries. “Africa has 46% of the world’s underutilized arable land. Problems with logistics, infrastructure and legislation need to be addressed, but the potential is there.”
Jacob added that the establishment of South African retailers in other African countries made it a little easier for South African farmers to find markets there.
The conversation was passionate and positive with lively audience participation. Tune in to the programme via the links below and find out why Africa could become the world’s food basket in the not too distant future.

Visit the Nation in Conversation website. Download the Nation in Conversation App from the various App stores and join in the conversation live in real time. Watch all the episodes on Youtube and check the website for the broadcast times of the episodes on the different television networks. Also follow the discussion on Twitter @nationconverse and check out our regular posts on our Facebook page and Instagram

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