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Farming is science and business, says MEC

18 May 2015
The Mercury
Sharika Regchand

THE MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Cyril Xaba, unveiled a new strategy and approach to agrarian transformation last week.

It is based on the premise that agriculture is science and business.

Xaba gave his budget speech in the KwaZulu-Natal legislature on Friday, under the theme “Agriculture is to become an economic game changer in KwaZulu-Natal”.

He outlined the department’s strategy for agrarian transformation.

All projects would be based on sound business models that would support the development and running of farms as businesses.

Agro-processing had been built into the model to allow new entrant black farmers access to local and export markets.

This approach would also see the models.

“The department will continue to invest substantially in community agricultural enterprises where grain and livestock potential remains untapped. However, gone are the days when the department would provide millions of rand of investments to one farmer at the expense of many others,” he said.

Equally, only business ideas and projects that were financially use of new funding sound would be supported by the department.

On attracting young people to farming, Xaba gave details of agricultural school programmes designed to create interest in pursuing agriculture as a career of choice and developing farming skills.

He said the biggest challenge smallholders faced was the issue of economies of scale.

“They will always struggle to compete with their commercial counterparts.