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Many Challenges Face SA Agriculture Industry Going Forward

“The South African agricultural industry was the only industry to keep going throughout the Covid-19 pandemic as it ensured the nation’s food security and we are very proud of what we were able to achieve,” said Norman Celliers, CEO of AFGRI, the headline sponsor of Africa Agri Tech, at the opening of the three-day conference and exhibition at SunBet Arena, Menlyn, Pretoria, on 14 March.

This year is of great significance to AFGRI, a leading local agricultural services company, as it is celebrating the centenary of its founding.

Panel facilitator Prof Ferdi Meyer said that maize farmers were among the most efficient in the world and that the price of maize in South Africa had continued to fall in real terms over the past 100 years.

“Now we face the prospect of a global industry that must cater for its next billion consumers as this is the number of people expected to lift themselves out of dire poverty in the next decade.  I am confident that the positivity and resilience shown by the industry in the past will ensure it will be even stronger in the future as it endeavours to get ‘more out of less’ by increasing efficiencies and productivity levels,” explained Celliers.

“What we need, in this era of rapid technological advances, is that all the people in our industry are able to take knowledgeable extracts from what is now an over-supply of data and information to improve outputs.

“Unfortunately, we in South Africa face several roadblocks in the spheres of infrastructure renewal, energy, and water supply so it is essential that we cut bureaucratical red tape urgently. Africa is a net importer of food, which has a big impact on the various countries’ foreign exchange reserves, and this trend needs to be reversed,” added Celliers.

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Many Challenges Face SA Agriculture Industry Going Forward