The SONA 2022 Recap

5 min read

The State of the Nation Address for 2022 has highlighted a lot of issues that needed to be addressed by the president, and so far, president Cyril Ramaphosa diligently addressed the crises created by the global pandemic, the aftermath, as well as a way forward.

The president went on to fully acknowledge the contributions and the growth of the Agricultural sector by pointing out its positive economic impact since the pandemic.

Picture: Jacques Nelles

Here are some highlights that were taken away from the SONA regarding agriculture:

  1. The president fully described and addressed the National State of Disaster. He is quoted as saying “The National State of Disaster, which has been set up since March 2020, will before long be finished as the public authority moves into the following period of its administration of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is our aim to end the public condition of catastrophe when we have settled different measures under the National Health Act and other regulation to contain the pandemic.”
  2. During this year’s SONA, which was held at the Cape Town City Hall on the 10th of February 2022, the agriculture sector was acknowledged for the remarkable work despite the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. President Ramaphosa emphasized the importance of land reform and promised to fast-track the implementation by creating a Land and Agrarian Reform Agency. He went on to say , “To date, government has redistributed over five million hectares of land, totaling around 5 500 farms, to more than 300 000 beneficiaries. This is in addition to the land restitution process, which has benefitted over two million land claimants and resulted in the transfer of around 2,7 million hectares.”
  4. The president encouraged South Africans to support local businesses by buying local goods and services. His appeal to South Africans was focused on supporting their local sugar industry, with a special mention of a blueprint for the Sugar Cane Value Chain Master Plan to 2030, which was signed during the lockdown. The purpose is to allow large sugar users to purchase at least 80% of their sugar needs from local growers.
  5. Last year, president Rampahosa reported an increase in local sugar production and a decline in imported sugar as a result of the implementation of the plan. He added: “This meant stability to an industry that employs around 85 000 people.” Besides providing market access to smallholders and emerging farmers, the government will also develop skills across the entire value chain of agriculture. A major emphasis will be placed on expanding the number of commercial black farmers.
  6. As a result of being the second largest exporter of citrus in the world, with about 65%, or 2.25m tons, of the crop of lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit and soft citrus destined for international markets, president Cyril Ramaphosa continued to praise the South African citrus industry. The president added that strong export growth in wine, maize, nuts, deciduous fruit and sugar cane was also recorded.

The address by the president were received well by the agricultural sector. However, Farmer’s weekly reports that the chairperson of the African Farmer’s Association of South Africa, Neo Masithela, went on to plead that there needs to be more action put towards the industry. He continued to add that key fundamental factors affecting economic growth within agriculture needed to be addressed as well.

“We hope to see government addressing the gap between the haves and the have nots in the agriculture value chain as a whole, to create a unified industry that would be more sustainable in the long run” said Mr Masithela.
Also commenting on the SONA, Agri SA’s executive Director Mr. Christo Van de Rheede, went on to add that Agri SA’s relationship with government had worked well throughout the course of recent years, yet what they currently needed to see was action.