The reviving of agriculture and the agro-processing value chain is key for radical economic transformation, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.
“Much more value is created in agro processing than it is in agriculture. There are high quality jobs if we actually process the products that we produce. Agro-processing can exist and add value where there is agriculture. But agro-processing can also drive agriculture and create a market for farmers,” said Minister Davies.
The Minister was speaking at the Eat Well, Eat Safe, Eat Local campaign at Cofimvaba High School, in Cofimvaba village, Eastern Cape on Monday.
Minister Davies said it is important that more of the food that people consume should be produced in the country as this will assist with growing jobs and the economy.
“The choice of buying locally produced products is for everyone, and it should be a priority. Right now, too much of the food that we consume in this country is not produced locally, it is produced somewhere else and imported,” he said.
The Minister further highlighted that there are different instruments that government is using to support the buy local campaign.
“We support infrastructure that can sustain agriculture, and we provide incentive programmes to support agro processing and aquaculture. We also use trade policy instruments.
“With the new regulations that we will be introducing, it will be a necessity for all manufacturers to reduce salt and sugar in processed foods. Not every product made in South Africa is healthy,” he said.
Minister Davies said in an attempt to ensure that majority of people eat nutritious food, government has introduced regulations that will see to it that maize meal, is fortified.
The event was hosted in partnership with the Eastern Cape department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Chris Hani District Municipality and Ntsika Yethu Municipal Council.