Louw Steytler, newly elected chair of Grain SA and a farmer from Lückhoff in the Free State said that South Africa's grain farmers can certainly produce sufficient food for the country and that political rhetoric and generalisations about the agricultural sector must end, Fin24.com reports.
In recent years farmers have had relatively good harvests and the country is self-sustaining. Steytler added that consumers and government may not be aware of the fact that South Africa, unlike many other countries, is not faced with food insecurity.
Unfortunately, Steytler warned, droughts and other forces of nature could quickly change the situation and then thousands of tonnes of basic foodstuffs will need to be imported, as has happened before. He stressed that the situation needs to be discussed with government and that the dangers must be highlighted. Steytler nevertheless believes that the grain farmers are able to produce sufficient food.
According to Fin24.com, Steytler said that agricultural sector has in recent times been singled out for unacceptable rhetoric and generalisations, instead of endeavouring to develop a non-racial democratic dispensation. There were also unfair comments that farmers are unwilling to participate in land reform. There is evidence to the contrary and remarks such as these cause frustration in the commercial agricultural sector. Steytler voiced hope that 'the voice of reason' in organised agriculture is coming from people in government circles. He hopes to meet and befriend those individuals. "I am convinced that we have the capacity and skills to make a difference and leave our children a better South Africa," Steytler concluded.
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