Mike Mlengana, director general of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), delivered the keynote address at the recent Agbiz congress and placed public/private partnerships in the spotlight.
“These partnerships are important for the South African economy, but they must be meaningful and they must have a meaningful impact on people’s lives. We must have a strategy and a clear vision about these partnerships,” he said.
“The partnership between the department and the private sector is essential to ensure inclusive economic growth, employment and food security. We need to invest in public/private partnerships to ensure optimal service delivery to the industry and, more importantly, to black smallholder producers.”
He highlighted public/private partnerships that are already making a huge contribution to the agricultural sector and the wellbeing of many people, such as the CEO Initiative of the Small Business Forum and the Animal Health Forum. The latter consists of representatives of the livestock commodity industries and government that meet regularly to discuss animal health issues.
Mlengana said that the government realises that such partnerships are important for food security in South Africa. “We also realise the importance of agriculture’s role in job creation. The government plans to continue to invest in small businesses.”
He also said that leadership is a crucial element to take South Africa forward.
With regard to land reform, Mlengana said that this is an emotive issue, but he endorses President Cyril Ramaphosa’s view that expropriation without compensation should take place in an orderly manner without undermining food security. “But people need tenure security,” he said. He furthermore emphasised the potential of the agro-processing chain to create jobs and ensure good communication between role players in the value chain. “We need meaningful change and not meaningful talk,” he said. – Press release