Landbou is ’n vennootskap van klomp rolspelers – Wilken

Vrystaat Landbou (VL) beskou die uitsprake dat 20% produsente 80% van Suid-Afrika se voedsel produseer as onverantwoordelik en gevaarlik. Só het Francois Wilken, President van VL, gesê nadat dié uitlatings onlangs in die media gemaak is.

Volgens hom word landbou in die Vrystaat as ’n geïntegreerde vennootskap tussen almal in die landbou-waardeketting beskou. Dit sluit kommunale, opkomende, kommersiële en sogenaamde megaboere, waarvan baie lede van georganiseerde landbou is, in. Landboubesighede en bedrywe, insetverskaffers, verwerkers én finansierders is almal kardinale rolspelers in die landbousektor.

“Om byvoorbeeld ʼn paar groot beesvoerkrale as die voorsieners van vleis vir die land te sien, is oorvereenvoudig. Die beeste wat eers gevoer word, word aan hulle deur die hele spektrum van produsente, ongeag die grootte van die boerdery, voorsien,” het Wilken gesê.

Gewone landbouers belangrik

Hy meen om sekere dele van die waardeketting op te offer én die onvermoë van die regering, korrupsie en ideologiese opportunisme te verbloem, is gevaarlik en onregverdig. “Omdat twee lokomotiewe byvoorbeeld 30 treinwaens trek, kan jy nie besluit om die waens eenvoudig af te haak en dink die lokomotiewe gaan in elkgeval die bestemming bereik nie.”

Volgens Wilken is landbouproduksie ook baie meer kompleks as net die produksie van stapelvoedsel. “Vat die wolbedryf as voorbeeld. Dit is ’n multimiljard-uitvoerindustrie waar die wol soms in van die moeilikste dele van ons land geproduseer word deur gewone en kleiner landbouers.”

Hy het gesê daar is dus baie ander bedrywe wat ’n rol speel om die broodnodige buitelandse valuta te genereer. Wilken meen die sogenaamde “kleinboere” is die landbouers wat die ekonomie van klein dorpies in stand hou en werk aan die ongeskoolde arbeidsmag verskaf.

Raak betrokke by gevestige strukture en werk saam

“Vrystaat Landbou bly, soos deur sy geskiedenis, verbind daartoe om die belange van al sy lede en landbou in die algemeen te dien en te verseker dat elke produsent ’n regverdige en billike kans sal hê om sy passie uit te leef,” het Wilken gesê.

Volgens hom is dit belangrik dat landbouers binne gevestigde strukture betrokke raak, deelneem en self hul toekoms bepaal.

“Ons moet ook bedag wees vir die misbruik van die media, emosie en persoonlike aanvalle om korttermyn doelwitte te bereik,” het hy gesê. “Elke produsent moet verantwoordelikheid neem vir homself deur betrokke te raak, sy stem te laat hoor en nie net met ’n wenslys te sit en hoop iemand gaan verby kom en dit waar maak nie.”

Agriculture is a partnership of many stakeholders – Wilken

Free State Agriculture (FSA) views the statements that 20% of producers produce 80% of South Africa’s food as irresponsible and dangerous. This is according to Francois Wilken, President of FSA, after such statements were recently made in the media.

According to him, agriculture in the Free State is seen as an integrated partnership between everyone involved in the agricultural value chain. This include communal, emerging, commercial and so-called mega farmers, many of which are members of organized agriculture. Agricultural businesses and industries, input suppliers, processors and financial institutions are all cardinal role players in the agricultural sector.

“For example, seeing a few large cattle feedlots as the meat suppliers of the country is oversimplified. The cattle supplied to them are first fed and provided by a wide spectrum of producers, regardless of the size of the farm,” Wilken said.

Ordinary farmers important

He believes that sacrificing certain parts of the value chain and disguising the inability of government, corruption and ideological opportunism are dangerous and unfair. “Two locomotives for example pull 30 train wagons. You can’t decide to simply cut off the wagons and think the locomotives will still reach the destination anyway.”

According to Wilken, agricultural production is also much more complex than just the production of staple food. “Take the wool industry as an example. It is a multi-billion export industry where the wool is sometimes produced in some of the most difficult parts of our country by ordinary and smaller farmers.”

He said there are therefore many other industries that play a role in generating much-needed foreign currency. Wilken believes the so-called “small farmers” are the farmers who maintain the economy of small towns and provide work to the unskilled labour force.

Get involved with established structures and work together

“Free State Agriculture remains committed to serving the interests of all its members and agriculture in general, and to ensuring that every producer has a fair and equitable opportunity to live out his passion,” Wilken said.

According to him, it is important that farmers become involved in established structures, participate and determine their own future.

“We also need to be alert of the misuse of the media, emotion and personal attacks to achieve short-term goals,” he said. “Every producer has to take responsibility for himself by getting involved, letting his voice heard and not just sitting with a wish list and hoping someone will come by and make it true.”

 

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