Agricultural Value Chain Virtual Discussion - Session One

  • 30 April 2020
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In the premier, Agbiz Chairman and Senwes Group Chief Executive Francois Strydom shares a word of welcome and clearly explains the purpose of these discussions and what they hope to achieve. “Other than just providing for the 60 million South Africans, we also provide about 65 percent of the food that is needed in the SADEC region, and of course, deep water exports” he says.

Francois speaks on how these sessions highlight the great potential of localised production instead of importing. He reflects on how the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic that has placed so many restrictions on us has made us look inwards and see the possibilities of us being self-sufficient. He proceeds to provide breakdown of the domino effect of the lockdown and its specific repercussions. He rounds up his welcoming by first introducing and then thanking all the role players who will be taking part in these discussions.

Dr John Purchase, CEO of Agbiz and anchor of these discussions follows with an overview of the imperativeness of food security and the competitiveness of the South African agricultural and agri business sector. “Currently South Africa is ranked number 1 in Africa and number 58 in the world in terms of food security on the Global Food Security Index (GFSI)” he says. He educates viewers on the four major components of food security and how to determine the overall position of a country in relation to food safety. He lets viewers in on the principles of competitiveness and how a country’s global competitiveness is determined.

John states that South Africa’s competitiveness has improved considerably over the past couple of years and explains how this came about. He also explains the Agbiz/DC Agribusiness Confidence Index in detail and helps viewers understand the country’s position therein and the factors that influence this index. “There are many positives in the South African agricultural sectors. If ever this pandemic has done anything positive, it was to make government realise the importance of agriculture.”

Director of BFAB, Prof Ferdi Meyer talks about the reality of the South African agricultural sector, agro-processing and the planning process. He paints a picture of the agriculture master plan, a plan not only for agriculture but for many other sectors in the South African economy. He stresses the importance of understanding of a master plan and having a plan that is executable and realistically actionable. “The first principle we have to apply in the master plan is to not attempt to reinvent the wheel. We have good examples of how things have worked well. We will use these and build on them” he says. Ferdi presents the different pillars of growth we see in the sector which link to the National Development Plan and explain how all these aspects can be put together. He hopes that the unique circumstances we find ourselves in currently, helps us understand the urgency of working together and moving into action.

Over the series, we take a look at different components in different sectors of the agriculture value chain and how they all come together to form a bigger picture perspective. Session 2 focuses on the meat industry. Dr John Purchase anchors the session with panel members Marthinus Stander (CEO of Country Bird Holdings), Johann Kotzé (CEO of South African Pork Producers Organisation), Dewald Olivier (CEO of The South African Feedlot Association) and Dr Danie Odendaal (Founder and director of Veterinarian Network (V-Net).

Visit the virtual discussion series portal: www.senwes.co.za/en-za/agri-value-chain.