The voice of agriculture . Die stem van landbou . Izwe lezokulima

​Kwanalu and the importance of organised agriculture

Kwanalu is an all-inclusive, non-profit organisation which operates solely on clear mandates from its membership base, decided on at Congress, which includes all KZN farmers, farmer and land owner associations, commodity groups and agri-businesses. Kwanalu operates on a sound governance structure with a constituted Board and Advisory Council elected by members.

For farmers, in the fragile and emotionally fraught current financial, political and social climate of South Africa, the role of an organised agricultural body such as Kwanalu, which is focused on lobbying at all levels of national, provincial and local government, initiating, informing and influencing meaningful change, is crucial for the future of a sustainable and financially viable agricultural sector.

Agriculture cannot go ahead in a justifiable manner without an organised body like Kwanalu representing the best interests of farmers and managing negativity and false news prevailing in the sector. Kwanalu’s strong membership base, its water-tight constitution and accountable mandates are all what sets the organisation apart from other organisations, whose interests are not solely invested in the development of the sector and whose core members are not made up of farmers and rural members, but rather of unconcerned parties with other (often political) agendas.

“Once agriculture has “lost its place” around Government’s table, it will not be easy to get it back and if so, it will be on some other organisation’s conditions, not ours,” says CEO of Kwanalu, Sandy La Marque.

“The transformation of agriculture and the political, economic and social pressures placed on the sector, does not allow for unclear or poorly considered and executed decisions or positions,” explains La Marque.

Without a body like Kwanalu, farmers and the entire agricultural sector, cannot make meaningful inputs at Government level, rather leaving laws, amendments to the Constitution etc to other organisations who do not have the best interests of all farmers as a mandate.

Kwanalu’s role here is crucial; with its strength, the future stability of the sector and effectiveness at Government level, lies in our member numbers and the organised structures that form part of organised agriculture; farmers and landowner associations, Kwanalu and Agri SA.

“Never in the history of South Africa has the role of organised agriculture come to such a point of departure; our strength lies in our membership base and it is the duty of every single member to ensure his/ her neighbour is a member of Kwanalu and contributes to this unity of purpose in agriculture,” says La Marque.

Kwanalu has always adopted very clear principals; namely to be a) well-informed with a solid legal foundation and an economically and factually sound foundation, b) to project, at all times, a professional image which is modern and progressive, c) has integrity, is credible, relevant and integrated, d) is socially and morally responsible and compliant. These principles are focused on each specific sector which makes up agriculture in KZN, all together ensuring an effective and affective collective bargaining power on behalf of members.

“Kwanalu is forward-thinking, proactive, well-informed and professional in our inputs and as such we are recognised as being a strong provincial leader in the sector,” says La Marque.