CEO’s Desk – Highlights of the Achievements for the First Quarter of 2023: Jan – Mar

Dr Simphiwe Ngqangweni, CEO: NAMC


The first quarter of each year often brings excitement to farmers, in particular farmers producing and exporting summer fruits like stone and table grapes. Equally farmers in the grains, oilseeds and animal production are also at their peak of summer production activities. However, in 2022, the excitement was contained by the consistent battles with load-shedding. The energy crisis affected the operations of all farmers with the scale varying across industries depending on their energy-use intensity. The energy supply challenge compelled the Minister of Agriculture, Thoko Didiza, to establish a task team aimed at exploring energy supply solutions for the sector. The NAMC is one of the sector players participating in the task team. The task team has engaged with the executives of Eskom and newly appointed Minister of Electricity to stabilise energy supply in agriculture. Parallel to energy issues, the NAMC continued its efforts to support the competitiveness and growth of the sector in an inclusive manner.

In the first quarter of 2023, the NAMC through its Agribusiness Development Division (ADD) in collaboration with the Directorate Marketing of the Free State Provincial Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (FSDALRRD) linked 29 smallholder farmers with Supreme Chicken Company to supply chickens. The industry body, South African Poultry Association was engaged to assist these 29 farmers with logistics, disease management and biosecurity issues that are crucial to maintain access to market. This is in fulfilment of NAMC’s strategic objectives of increasing market access for all market participants through effective partnerships with public and private sector.

Another key objective of the NAMC is to contribute towards promoting efficiency in the marketing of agricultural products. This implies, among others, a constant monitoring and implementation of policies and regulations that promote free-and-fair markets. In terms of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act of 1996, the NAMC monitors activities of agricultural trusts and investigates, recommends and monitors statutory measures in the South African agricultural sector. During the reporting period, the Agricultural Industry Trusts Unit concluded the Status report for 2022. There is a refreshing picture of trusts that are recuperating from COVID’s effects. This bodes well for the use of trust assets and proceeds to enhance the competitiveness and inclusivity of various agricultural industries. As part of monitoring the progress of transformation in the sector, the NAMC published the first issue of the transformation report, which is the report that measures the transformation activities by industries using trust assets. Previously, the transformation issue was part of the trusts and statutory measures status reports. The latest separate transformation report provides an interesting overview of a sector that invests in mainstreaming historically disadvantaged black role players. Different industries use different models to drive transformation. It is imperative to note that industries have been encouraged to focus on enterprise and supplier development through the NAMC’s generic transformation guidelines.

To validate the work of agricultural industry trusts, the NAMC convened a trust workshop, which was attended by the trusts, DALRRD and the NAMC to look at the work of the year and discuss ways of improving service offerings going forward. It came out during the workshop that trust-to-trust relationships are needed as some products are complementary. Regarding statutory measures, the NAMC through the Statutory Measures Unit finalized its 2022 survey on the status of statutory measures implemented under the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act (MAP Act). The 2022 survey was based on the latest audited financial statements of the 20 commodity organisations collecting statutory levies. In the 2022 survey, levy administrators collected approximately R986.1 million through statutory levies, which is 21.9% higher than in the 2021 survey.

Among other things, the increase in levy income can be attributed to the higher citrus statutory levies that went into effect in 2021, as well as the soybean breeding levies and winter cereal breeding levies approved in recent years. Of the total expenditure, about 47.0% was spent on research, 9.0% on export promotion/market access, and 6.7% on information. About 20.0% (R179.2 million) was spent on transformation projects.

In the reporting period, MERC continued to generate market intelligence through our monthly and quarterly flagship reports and advisory services provided to the Minister in tracking food availability. The NAMC has been approached by the Competition Commission of South Africa (CCSA) to provide information on the fresh produce market enquiry. The MERC staff and other core divisions are working together to provide the CCSA with the requested information.

A NAMC delegation attended the International Conference on Business Models in Agriculture (IBMA) Conference in Kigali between 27-30 March 2023. Dr. Ndiadivha Tempia played an important role, serving on the steering committee, participating in bi-weekly scientific meetings, and reviewing abstracts for presentation. In addition, she also served as a moderator and speaker in one of the sessions on Women in Agriculture models designed to support smallholder farmers. We are thrilled to see our team’s expertise being recognized on an international platform.

We are also delighted to announce that two chapters have been accepted for publication in a book after undergoing double-blind peer review. These chapters are titled “Fresh Produce Market Challenges and Opportunities: A case for the Johannesburg Municipal Fresh Produce Market; and Global Certification Systems of Key Importance in Accessing International Markets for the South African Fruit Industry”. We are proud to see our staff’s research and analysis recognized in the academic community.

Lastly, we would like to report on the progress made by the research team under the cassava project during the reporting period. The team completed the primary data collection exercise in the Provinces of KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. They continued to establish market access linkages between cassava producers and traders and facilitated market access for a group of cassava producers in Phalaborwa with a Tshwane metro-based trader, and some Food Lover’s Market outlets have begun selling fresh cassava tubers. Discussions are ongoing to ensure that local producers supply expand to other stores. We are pleased to see our efforts in promoting local produce being successful.

As we look forward to the future, we remain committed to fulfilling our mandate of providing marketing advisory services to the Minister, directly affected groups and related stakeholders in the agriculture and agro-processing sectors.

Download document