AFAP hosts workshop in Polokwane

22 Mar 2013

The African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) together with the Agricultural Development Market Trust (AGMARK) has been stewarding a process towards the development of an agribusiness development programme in support of smallholder farmers in Limpopo province of South Africa.

As part of this process, a stakeholders meeting was arranged by the Limpopo provincial government to review the findings of the study.

The study began in 2012 when AGMARK under the support of AFAP were approached by the Limpopo Department of Agriculture to compile a study of the province. The intention was of introducing an agribusiness intervention in the province.

The study presented at the workshop highlighted the opportunities and challenges associated with smallholder famers access to input and output markets in the province.

AFAP’s Vice President, Richard Mkandawire who attended the workshop said: “Not only was the workshop well attended, but it created a platform where the private and public sectors could engage in constructive ways of defining new pathways for the development of viable agribusiness for smallholder famers in the province.”

“This is what AFAP does, we work to strengthen these relationships,” Mkandawire said.

James Mutonyi, AGMARK’s managing director said: “We were tasked with designing and contributing to a pilot development intervention program on agribusiness for Limpopo with AFAP’s support.” During the half day workshop, a presentation was given to these stakeholders on what the agricultural landscape is in the province.

Mutonyi said farmers in the province face many challenges, such as long distances to farm input suppliers and expensive farm inputs among others. “Most of the challenges we found are not just relative to the province but are challenges faced by many famers in the continent.”

The final chapter of the report suggested Limpopo implements the AFAP agro-dealer model, which would entail that key agricultural stake-holders go to Kenya, where the model has already been a success, with the aim of replicating this known model in South Africa.

Tshilidzi Mathobo the Agribusiness Manager for the Limpopo Department of Agriculture thanked AFAP and AGMARK for the in-depth study of the province. “We have been given a second pair of eyes; AFAP and AGMARK have given us an opportunity to look at our province differently.”

“A key lesson I take from this is the importance of the value chain; it is important that all people involved in the value chain engage in dialogue more regularly. This is the vehicle that will drive agriculture to the next level,” Mathobo said.