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The Conversation about Family Businesses

  • 17 May 2018
  • 2018
  •  Nation in Conversation
  •  nation-in-conversation

“The emphasis on farming as a family business has gained new momentum with the United Nations’ adoption of a decade of family farming. Government, business and labour can get involved to promote sustainable development to alleviate global hunger.”

This is the background to the conversation of the 4th session of Nation in Conversation at the second day of the Nampo Harvest Day festival.

John set the backdrop of the discussion by explaining the United Nations have declared a decade of family farming and in so doing is encouraging governments around the world to create policies to enable family farms and small holder farms to become and remain sustainable. According to John, there are 500 million family farms world-wide which contribute 80% of the world’s food.

The panel was in agreement that there were no real government policies in place and the departments of government which affects agriculture are operating in silos. “Department like the DTI, DAFF, Water and Sanitation etc, should be developing policies that complement each other to enable successful farming businesses,” said John.

Pitso agreed and said that “the problem is that there is no political will to implement plans and policies.”

Johan reminded the discussion that real capital was only achieved after “the third or fourth generation, and one of the main issues is that there is a lot of in-fighting in families and this causes many problems. A proper succession plan needs to be in place for family businesses to prosper.”

Pitso made the point that in countries like Brazil, India and China, family or small farms are supported by government policy and have been successful. “Why has it not happened here? Why is government not part of this discussion today?”

The other participants made points relating to labour, crime and market access.

For the full episode of this insightful conversation please visit the Nation in Conversation website at to view the full broadcast schedule.

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