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November 9th, 2017 / The Conversation

Agriculture delivers more jobs per rand invested than any other productive sector. If the entire agriculture value chain is considered in South Africa, its contribution to GDP reaches approximately 12%.

South Africa has the ability to meet national food requirements – yet more than 7 million citizens experience hunger. A further 22.6% of households have inadequate access to food.

There are a number of reasons for this. Unsustainable food production practices have led to soil erosion, biodiversity loss, pollution and climate change. There is also increased competition with other industries, like biofuels, for the use of arable land. Declined access to quality water and the failure to address land redistribution are also contributing factors.

Another major reason that the sector is unable to realise its full potential is the fact that education and training is in need of a very serious overhaul.

This is the core finding of a recently published consensus study I chaired for the Academy of Science of South Africa. The study identified three key areas in need of attention: substantial institutional reform, stimulating innovation in the sector and ending the fragmented way in which education and training in the sector is managed. Read more