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14/09/2018

JCCI Annual Conference

The JCCI Annual Conference took place on the 22 August 2018 with the theme: EXPLORING NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES IN URBAN FARMING AND AGRO-PROCESSING - Business and Emerging Farmers in Conversation.

The conference focus was on the imperative that our economic challenges of affordable food, job creation and poverty reduction are confronted. This conference was a rallying point for business, government, civic society and smallholder agriculture to contribute to the growth and development of the Gauteng economy.

Topics covered included:
the local status quo
an international perspective
an examination of existing models of smallholder farming
presentations from companies representing the supply chain, and
a facilitated interactive session that will develop future scenarios.
Speakers included:
JCCI President, Herman Breedt
Tshegofatso Selepe, Standard Bank Agriculture Advisor
Manoj Seonath, IDC Head of Agro Processing and Agriculture
Dr Tracy Ledger, researcher and author of An Empty Plate
Mandla Nkomo, Regional MD for Southern Africa, Solidaridad
Dr Naudé Malan, Interactive session facilitator and convener of iZindaba Zokudla
Premier David Makhura
Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, used the conference as a vehicle to interact with business and to share his plans to integrate agriculture as a key strategy for economic prosperity.

He emphasised that while Gauteng was one of the richest provinces in Africa it was also marred by poverty.

He said, "There must be something wrong if you have such a large number of residents who go to bed hungry. Many people go without food for three out of seven days."

He then highlighted that the province's advantage is in having the biggest market and retail infrastructure to grow the urban agroprocessing sector. However, in order for urban agriculture to thrive, Makhura pointed out that small-scale farmers, such as those commonly found in township areas, need to have access to the larger market.

He called upon big business to participate in supporting small scale -farmers in order to promote transformation in the economy. "We need big businesses, enterprises, the finance sector and even universities to concentrate on including the smaller businesses, especially since our model of transformation, for some time, was mostly focussed on big businesses."

In addition, he emphasised that food production should take place much closer to where people live in order to ensure that produce is affordable to all.

Makhura said, "We in Gauteng need to zone land, to preserve land for food production as part of the vision for the kind of Gauteng that we want."

He also commented on the province's rapid land release programme, in which he plans to make provincial land and buildings available for the development of human settlements and for urban agriculture projects.

He explained that releasing these land parcels will provide an opportunity for the province to rapidly transform its economy to include small businesses in all sectors, including that of urban agriculture. "I want to see an economy in Gauteng which is as diverse as our province is, and which is reflective of all the talents, skills and all of the capabilities of every one of our citizens. Every sector needs to reflect this, including agriculture."

Face-To-Face Interactions The private sector was afforded an opportunity to have face-to-face interactions with the agricultural community. There was strong participation from emerging and commercial farmers in produce and livestock, food processing, representatives of agricultural NGOs and hubs, agricultural trainers, regional markets and co-operatives.

The overall objective was to assess local challenges and opportunities, identify the financial and legislative constraints and chart the way forward to ensure cities that provide health, social justice and inclusion, employment and environmental sustainability.

 JCCI Annual Conference.JPG
 JCCI Annual Conference.pdf


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