The Agriculture Development Agency (AGDA) will be launching at this year's Africa Agri Tech Conference and Expo (AAT) on 18 February at the Maslow Hotel, Times Square, Menlyn Main in Pretoria.
The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza will deliver the keynote address.
The launch will serve as the opening event of the conference, which will run from 18–20 February and will cover topics ranging from the local and international agricultural economy and access to capital, to mitigating drought conditions through sustainable climate-sensitive agriculture as well as developing intra-African trade in agricultural products.
AGDA is part of the Public-Private Growth Initiative (PPGI), which was established in April 2018 under the leadership of Dr Johan van Zyl, CEO and President of Toyota in Europe, basing the PPGI on the Japanese economic model. The aim is to align strategic planning between government and the private sector, in the interest of improving economic growth and the manner in which government and business work together.
There are more than 20 sectors identified by the PPGI for specific focus. These include
• Energy and Renewable Energy;
• Health; and Insurance.
These sectors are all developing comprehensive five-year growth plans, which aim at accelerating economic growth and job creation.
The specific aims of AGDA are intended to promote greater social justice by creating enablers that will help drive sustainable land reform programmes and contribute to changing land ownership patterns in our country.
In this regard, Roelf Meyer of the In Transformation Initiative, which is one of the main drivers of this project, drew attention to the main objectives of the agency, which are to promote and support access to agricultural land by black and/ or emerging farmers, and to support the use of agricultural land and infrastructure development so as to promote land reform and food security in the country.
Meyer highlighted that AGDA has the specific purpose not only to pursue these noble objectives, but also to ensure the provision of appropriate training, as well as support and assistance to emerging farmers to improve capacity and access to agricultural markets in particular.
"It is only through the pursuit of such objectives in partnership with government, focussing on a more vigorous pursuit of the noble objectives the national land reform programme, that the market failures and imperfections in building an inclusive, dynamic and competitive agricultural sector, to enable all our people who have ambitions to work in agriculture can be achieved," Meyer said.
Gloria Serobe, CEO of WipCapital and also one of the contributors to the creation of AGDA remarked that "the Agricultural Development Agency must have a well-developed social conscience and it must institutionalised in a manner that will ensure it is always dedicated to such imperatives."
Governance of AGDA will be led by a board constituted of an equal number of representatives from government and the private sector.