21 Improving agribusiness and access to markets of smallholder farmers

How good management practices in pluralistic advisory systems can make a difference

Organizers: Department of Agriculture of the Republic of South Africa; South Africa; University of the Free State; FAO

Abstract

The Department of Agriculture of the Western Cape is at the forefront in providing quality extension and advisory services. The event will share results obtained from research conducted to identify good management practices governing the extension and advisory system in South Africa, focusing on the Western Cape Province. Implementation of these practices takes place in the framework of the National Government’s Land Reform promoting emerging farmers on redistributed land. The good management practices include - among others - public-private collaboration for inclusive advisory services ranging from supporting agribusiness to connecting smallholders to markets; result-based management with performance audits; an ICT based management information system and measures to promote performance of staff. Tailor-made norms and standards are applied to effectively deliver quality service and advice and to introduce new innovations to farmers. This provides value adding knowledge, improves agribusiness and stimulates financial growth so that the farmers become successful contributors to food security and the economy. These practices will be depicted as the underlying contributors to the effectiveness and success of the advisory system and farm profitability. The role and contribution of good governance and management practices to sustainable food and agriculture, will be evident and their impact will be outlined.

Key speakers

Opening: 

Deputy Special Programme Leader SO3, Ms Maya Takagi

Presentation:

 

  • Mr Jan Swanepoel, Lecturer, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, University of the Free State
  • Ms Magdalena Blum, Extension Systems Officer, Research and Extension Unit, FAO
  • Mr Johan Van Niekerk, Director, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, University of the Free State

Panel members:

 

  • Mr Tuckeldoe Roger, Director, Small Holder Development. Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)
  • Ms Joyene Isaacs, Head of Department, Department of Agriculture, Western Cape Government
  • Mr Mogale Sebopetsa, Acting Chief Director: Farmer Support and Development, Department of Agriculture, Western Cape Government
  • Ms Antonia Xaba, Acting Chief Director: Rural Development, Department of Agriculture, Western Cape Province

Closing remarks:

Ms Moshibudi Rampedi, Counselor of the South African Embassy on behalf of Her Excellency the Ambassador

Moderator:

Ms Magdalena Blum, Extension Systems Officer, Research and Extension Unit, FAO

Main themes/issues discussed

The research initiative conducted and presented identified successful management practices governing the extension and advisory system in South Africa, with specific focus on the Western Cape Province.  The implementation of these practices are linked to the framework of the National Government’s Land Reform which promotes emerging farmers on redistributed land and to the Extension Policy which sets norms and standards for staff education and training. 

The study identified five different areas of management practices: 

  • Result based management with set targets, performance audits and evaluation;
  • Performance Management with measures to promote performance of staff to effectively deliver quality services and advice;
  • Public-private partnerships and multi-stakeholder collaboration for strengthening advisory services (for example, mentorship by commodity group members, large scale farmers as well as the private sector to smallholder farmers) and achieving inclusive advisory services to farmers;
  • Human resource management with the application of tailor-made norms and standards for staff education and training as well as staff incentives to enhance performance;
  • Management information systems using a multifunctional Information and communication technologies (ICTs) for target monitoring as well as virtual platforms providing value adding knowledge to advisors and farmers.

These well assessed and documented practices were depicted as the underlying contributors to the effectiveness and success of the Western Cape Government’s advisory and extension system.  The role and contribution of the good governance and management practices to sustainable food and agriculture are evident and their impact was outlined such as improved agribusiness and market access stimulating financial growth so that the farmers become successful contributors to the economy. 

Summary of key points

Resulting outcomes from this event made attendees aware of potential growth opportunities and access to markets that exist for smallholder farmers as a direct result of good management practises that are effectively implemented and applied by the key players in a pluralistic extension and advisory system of a province or country. 

Other developing and developed countries can utilize this knowledge to enhance existing management practices and thereby improve extension and advisory services to significantly enhance the livelihoods of smallholders. 

Key outcomes/take away messages

  • Crucial success factors and hence take away messages include:
  • Motivated management and advisory teams with a clear vision;
  • Innovative institutional settings adapted to the context (creation of commodity groups, multi-stakeholder decision-making bodies, etc.);
  • Inclusive service provision to smallholders from the public and private sector enhancing farm performance through agri-business and market access;
  • Education, training and incentives for enhanced quality services;
  • Access to knowledge using ICTs for advisors and farmers;
  • Setting of targets and monitoring of results;
  • Continued learning from experience.