Limpopo livestock farmer Steinberg Matsane is worried that his business’s growth prospects are hampered by a lack of advanced technological tools. He attributes a lack of financial injection as a contributing factor to his failure to upgrade his tools.
“I started this business many years ago, but I still operate in the old way. When slaughtering my chickens and preparing eggs which I sell to the public there is no technology involved,” he said. “I don’t have enough money to buy the necessary machines. I am very much aware that without introducing the new technology I will not be able to deal with bigger customers,” said Matsane.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)’s Beeza Mtamzeli has encouraged small businesses in the agriculture sector to apply innovation and take advantage of technology to minimise costs, increase revenue and create much needed job opportunities. Most subsistence and small scale farmers in rural areas still use the old style of farming which sometimes stands as an obstacle in their way to growth; but the CSIR in collaboration with other stakeholders in the public and private sector are currently working on several innovative projects that will assist small businesses, especially small scale farmers to implement innovation business model in their operations.
“Applying innovative measures in agriculture will enhance rural development and inclusive economic development. The agro-processing platform relies on innovative technologies that enable manufacturing using digitised and greener production processes as well as advanced packaging solutions to reduce post harvest losses. “There are many useful tools such as those for food safety testing to meet international regulatory requirements,” Mtamzeli said.
Mtamzeli said using technology can expand the already well performing agricultural sector. The South Africa –Agricultural Sector Trade Administration cited that the sector contributed about 10-pecent to the country’s total export earnings of 2019/2020 financial year. The sector is one of the biggest in South Africa and employs many people, especially in the rural areas.
According to South Africa’s National Development Plan, the agricultural sector is expected to create more than a million jobs by 2030. This means there is a serious need for the industry to implement strategies that will enable it to expand. Innovation in agriculture includes the entire dimension of the production circle and along the whole value chain.
The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said innovation is the central force that can enable the world to achieve its Millennium Development Goal of alleviating hunger and malnutrition. FAO recently announced that it is in the process of assisting countries that are its members to unlock and facilitate the potential of innovation in agriculture so that they can be able to easily deal with hunger and poverty.
“In collaboration with our partners we are currently working in nine pilot countries in Africa, Asia and Central America to bring international, national and local partners together to construct and implement capacity development plans for agricultural innovation,” FAO wrote on its website. – Mukurukuru Media