Nedbank says gender diversity will drive future agricultural growth

The South African agricultural sector continues to add growth and value to the economy with 13.1% growth recorded in 2020, 8.3% recorded in 2021 and 3.6% annual growth rate so far this year.

However, financial services provider Nedbank says growth will soon decline unless the industry finds new ways to manage complexities affecting growth, such as gender diversity.

The Food and Agricultural Policy Bureau (BFAP) states that agricultural growth will slow towards the end of this year and towards 2023; But Nedbank says transformation, inclusion and diversity can be key growth drivers for agriculture and the country as a whole.

“By promoting a more diverse and inclusive environment, the industry can create jobs and improve food security and sustainability,” says Nedbank head of agriculture. John Hudson.

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Nedbank cites research published by the international Journal of Development Studies, which found that empowering women leads to economic benefits for their homes, communities and industry.

This is echoed in a study by the McKinsey consultancy titled ‘The Power of Parity: Advancing Women’s Equality in Africa’, which points out how Africa could add $316 billion to its annual gross domestic product if it made gender equality a priority.

“Currently, the South African labor market supports men more than women, with female unemployment at 37.3%,” explains Hudson, adding that reform is needed, both at the policy level and at the local level, to improve access. actively providing funding, support and opportunities to women.

She believes the industry can reduce the barriers women face in the industry by taking measurable and functional steps to facilitate access to finance and support.

For example, financial institutions, public sector and other private sector companies can prioritize women’s empowerment and drive the diversity conversation throughout their interactions with the industry.

This will take a broader approach to transformation and create opportunities that will give women the chance to realize their potential and expand their ideas into commercially viable ventures.

Hudson says it’s important to go beyond just paperwork and pseudo-service and empower women in the agriculture sector in tangible ways, giving them the financial tools and support they need to innovate, grow their business and make the most of their opportunities.

First, Nedbank is committed to the growth and transformation of the agricultural sector and has placed the discussion of gender participation at the forefront of its agenda.

This commitment extends to job creation, a sustainable economy and sustainable solutions to contemporary challenges facing women farmers, as well as developing tailored solutions tailored to their needs and growth prospects.

ISSUE OF DISCUSSION

JSE-listed packaged goods manufacturer Tiger Brands has a growing supplier base of black female-owned businesses throughout the value chain.

The company spends an average of R4.2 billion a year purchasing black women-owned businesses and is actively working to increase that figure.

Tiger Brands says black female farmers, in particular, are the primary source of agricultural products used in the production of some of the company’s most iconic and beloved brands, including Koo, All Gold, Black Cat and Ace.

At least 70 female farmers in key agricultural communities in South Africa supply Tiger Brands with ingredients such as peanuts, tomatoes, white corn, small white beans, sorghum and wheat.

A critical focus for Tiger Brands is helping these farmers operate on a commercial level in South Africa – a hurdle few can overcome.

Tiger Brands has an Agricultural Gatherer program to support farmers in achieving commercialized operations, including market access, opportunities to obtain input financing, and providing agricultural and technical support.

In turn, collectors may enter into agreements with multiple smallholder farmers to supply the volume of agricultural raw materials needed by Tiger Brands.

For example, the director of SE Holdings Mpumi for exampleAn aggregator for Tiger Brands since 2020, it supplies Grade A small white beans to the company with small farmers in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo and the Free State.

Tiger Brands says it is always on the lookout for suitable black female farmers who have a desire and passion for farming as well as access to land and water.

“If we’re going to tackle the problem of food insecurity in a sustainable way, it’s agriculture that we need to look at, because farms and farmers produce the food that feeds people.

Tiger Brands corporate relations and sustainability says, “It is important for farmers to build on their capacity and capabilities so that large organizations support the industry and are well equipped to ensure that all South Africans have access to a healthy and nutritious meal every day.” chief officer Mary Jane Jacket.