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Theo de Jager

Theo de Jager is Vice-President of the Pan African Farmers Forum Organization (PAFO). He says: “I don’t believe there is anyone who can speak on behalf of the farmers in Africa. There are too many of us and we are too diverse and too widely spread over the continent. In the 49 countries where we convened, farmers are united on the stance that we are finished with being hungry and poor and disadvantaged and low technology and working with hand hoes and oxen. We are finished with limited markets and being delivered to poor policies. We are finished with having limited choices. More than half of the population of this continent are farmers by default and not farmers by choice. This needs to change in our lifetime. “What we have in Africa is 46% of the world’s underutilised arable land and more than 80% of the world’s untapped ground water sources. We have the best average climate of any continent on the globe with more heat and light units than everyone else. We have more than half our population making a living out of agriculture - all the stuff that money cannot buy. What we lack is technology, infrastructure, experience, expertise and links to markets, access to financing and investments and value chain assets all those things money can buy and it is going to happen, with or without us.”

Cecilia Khupe

Cecilia Khupe is an agricultural economist from Botswana and AFAP’s (African Fertilizer Agribusiness Partnership) Director of Programmes, Africa. “After the African head of states came together in 2014 to reflect on the 2003 declaration in Maputo on what to achieve by then, they realised that very little has moved, except in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Zambia where the leadership has bought into agriculture.”

Charl Senekal

Greyford Monde

Greyford Monde is Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock in Zambia and he was part of the discussion panel on the key issues of the symposium. “Speaking for my government, we are now making it a priority in Zambia to woo as many farmers as possible to come to Zambia to look at the opportunities we offer in order for us to grow ourselves. To do that we are putting up measures to ensure that it is not just talk shows and that it will translate into real time actions.” On the stance of government’s relation with the private sector, Monde put it plainly: “Once government sees that the agricultural sector, like any other private sector, wants to be a partner rather than opposition, government starts to wake up on how the private sector is going to dictate. If you have a responsible private sector, you will never see any government wanting to destroy its people.” He concluded with a very remarkable inspiring message about attitude: “Previously we thought we had a serious disadvantage because our country is landlocked, but now we realise we are actually land linked. Our farmers have markets all around us.”

Charl Senekal is one of the megacommercial farmers of South Africa and recently reached the news when the Zambian government offered him land just after the South-African government announced a land claim on the piece of his land on which he intended to build a power station in the midst of a serious power crisis in South Africa. “We are currently busy with a project in Ethiopia and we are considering to make a serious investment in Zambia. I really think the climate in both countries is very pleasant and they opened the doors to us South-Africans. Presently, there are no safer countries for my operations than Ethiopia and Zambia.”

ProAgri Zambia 01

October 2015

3

ProAgri Zambia 01  

ProAgri Zambia 01

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