Re-imagining a future for South African agriculture
Agricultural policy in the past was characterized by elementary objectives such as stabilisation, protectionism, deregulation and producer interests. Future policy direction faces the complexity associated with post-modernism. In this regard, global markets are considered increasingly saturated, unfair, inequitable, volatile, concentrated and dominated by supply chains and retailers. Agricultural firms are moving beyond a producer orientation towards firms that focus on creating value from size, non-farm business, service orientation, more open management style, greater human capital, accelerated self-renewal, innovation, marginalizing commodities, retaining and unlocking further value from traditional business. Furthermore, contemporary issues like land reform and empowerment remain key challenges but suffer from deficiencies in bureaucracy, beneficiary selection, forms of ownership, and generally incentives to engage markets. Empowerment efforts however favour asset acquisition instead of human capital formation and entrepreneurship. Addressing these challenges requires a reconceptualisation of the role of the state and markets. The argument strongly advanced is for greater integration between state and market whereby markets are incentivised to perform and execute economic programmes.
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