It’s no doubt horticultural development is crucial to boost the wellbeing of the South African economy. Nevertheless, education and political stability are other essential aspects we cannot overlook. In South Africa, farming is encountering a bunch of hindrances and adequate skills being the main contributors. Here are four challenges facing the horticultural sector in South Africa.
Lack of Horticultural development policies and support
The provision of support and implementation of nifty policies in the horticultural sector are aspects that undoubtedly catapult the progress of farming. They also ensure a country is food secure, and commercialization is at its best. Notably, agriculture is, without a doubt, the top contributor to the alleviation of poverty among the Africans.
However, about 36% of farmers in South Africa don’t receive any government support and have to rely on their means to survive. Another bunch of approximately 50% claim to receive extension governmental support only once in a while. And the saddest bit is, most horticultural farmers only get to sell their commodities to NGO’s. The organizations, in turn, use the food to support feeding schemes in South Africa and beyond. As it is, not all NGOs buy the produce. As a result, a considerable amount of it often ends up rotting.
Lack of adequate horticultural development technologies and skills
Lack of proper techniques is another glaring challenge of most farmers In South Africa. Ideally, horticulture requires one to know about production, storage, and chemicals to use. Time and again, tons of harvests get spoilt before reaching the market, and when they do, they are often of low quality. This results from the fact most farmers don’t have storage facilities and entirely rely on directly harvesting and selling their produce.
Notably, loads of farmers don’t have formal education in Horticultural farming. Similarly, thousands of others don’t record keep their farms’ data or have adequate knowhow to manage their farms. In fact, only a staggering 10% have the aptitude to manage their labor, equipment, and finance.
Poor market and high transport costs
In any business, the end goal of doing it is to make profits, and in Horticulture, the case is no different. Consequently, the type of strategy you use has a substantial impact on the benefits you make, as well as losses.
Nevertheless, for most emerging horticultural farmers in South Africa, marketing their farm produce is a huge challenge. Most of them have to battle with expensive transportation costs and go-betweens that often result in lower final earnings from the harvests. Typical farmers spend between R 3000 to above R 5000 on transport annually.
As a result of the high transportation costs, over 80% of farmers prefer selling their produce to neighbors in the grassroots to avert cheaply-buying brokers in urban markets. Approximately less than 20% are those who take their food to town and farm gates. For farmers who manage to reach their produce in cities, they mainly acknowledge the ability to source cheaper means of transport as the primary contributor to their success. Also, their experience in the field helps them device better strategies and avoid intermediaries.
Minimal ideal land for setting up farms
Finding a perfect piece of land for farming in South Africa is a headache most farmers face. According to the South African Journal of Agricultural Extension, about 72% of farmers in SA are utilizing less than 10 hectares of land. In the same vein, a staggering 28% produce on more than 10 hectares. This is a significant disparity considering; generally, horticulture requires considerable large tracks of land to thrive.
In summation, much of the challenges affecting horticultural development in South Africa has to do with the government. Consequently, policymakers responsible in the horticulture sector ought to move with speed to create favorable laws. They also should pick up some of the governmental strategies used in Egypt to boost agriculture, provide adequate land, and farm inputs. Last, but definitely not the least, they need to provide the necessary infrastructure, education, and facilitate logistics to export produce.