Keep politics out of agriculture, pleads Sihlobo

Agriculture should be an area on which political parties can agree, and not become a victim of divisive and populist politics, says agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo.

“The sector must not be a casualty of politics. It is a force for good in growing the South African economy and advancing the country’s place on the global map,” agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo says in an article in the Daily Maverick.

“The government of national unity must keep the agricultural sector uppermost in their mind. This is a sector that should offer an avenue of convergence across the political spectrum: it is crucial for rural development, food security and job creation.”

Sihlobo once again set out the urgent agricultural priorities for the new government that he has been advocating, including land ownership, financing for small-scale farmers, improving animal health and agricultural businesses and dealing with crime and corruption.

He also repeated his view that the government does not need any new plans to boost agriculture – it merely has to implement the existing ones, which have set out the issues in detail.

“What is necessary is the dedication and relentless focus on implementing existing government plans to drive inclusive growth in agriculture and job creation. 

“The government of national unity should not make this sector a casualty of populist politics. Instead, they should see it as a source of economic growth and job creation in rural South Africa,” Sihlobo said.