CEO’s Desk – NAMC is committed to facilitating smallholder farmers’ access to markets

Dr Simphiwe Ngqangweni, CEO: NAMC


The National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) is committed towards facilitating market access for smallholder farmers through a partnership approach with national, provincial, and local Departments of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) and industries. This approach has proven to be effective and is well appreciated by partners as it brings a coordinated market support to farmers.

During the month of November, the NAMC through its Agribusiness Development Division (ADD) worked together with the Free State provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to link a total of 70 smallholder farmers with Ultimate Growers (PTY) LTD, which supplies Freshmark Group, Boxer and Hospitality Industry with vegetables. About 32 farmers (15 females and 17 males) were from Sasolburg and the surrounding areas, and the remaining 38 farmers (24 females and 14 males) were from Welkom.

The ADD also participated in a consultative workshop on the implementation of the commodity-based extension approach (CBEA) and Smallholder Empowerment and Promotion approach (SHEP). These are strategic models implemented to address the market access issue for small-scale farmers. SHEP is a model borrowed from Japan and it is instrumental in shaping the mindset of the small-scale farmer to produce with the end-mind of market requirements and quality assurance. The aforementioned workshop aimed to implement a value chain approach for integrated and holistic support services for smallholder farmers, prioritising market access through Public Private Partnerships.

Furthermore, the NAMC participated in Jozini Information and Market Day in KwaZulu-Natal, which was attended by approximately 100 stakeholders from the surrounding communities composed of traditional authorities, public and private sector players. At the event, the NAMC presented market access opportunities to smallholder farmers and stakeholders. The stakeholders present agreed to develop a comprehensive support package for the Jozini smallholder farmers, which would include support from different stakeholders, new and innovative public-private partnerships, increased public investments in research and extension systems and development-oriented local institutions.

Efforts to support small-scale farmers is within the context of broader agricultural development to attain an inclusive growth and competitive agricultural value chains. Parallel to market access and small-scale farmer support programmes, the NAMC continues to support the general agricultural sector with statutory measures and administering agricultural trusts. Through NAMC investigations and recommendations, Minister Thoko Didiza approved the continuation of statutory measures within the macadamia industry. The macadamia industry is one of the fastest growing agricultural industries in South Africa. Statutory measures in the macadamia industry were first introduced in 2015, enabling the industry to collect approximately R10.1 million per year between 2015 and 2018. With the newly approved measures the industry is set to collect roughly R44.8 million per year between 2023 to 2026. Guided by the NAMC guidelines, the industry allocates about 55% of collected levy for Research and Development (55%), 20% is allocated to transformation, 15% is ring-fenced for market access and promotions, whereas administration received 10 of total levy collected each year. These functions assist the industry a great deal to put South Africa on the global map. For example, South Africa is the biggest macadamia producer in the world, subsequently the largest exporter in the globe, with 93% of SA production being exported.

Through these functions, the NAMC is playing its part to promote and implement the objectives of the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan (AAMP). Since the signing of the AAMP on the 12th of May 2022, government, industry, and labour have collectively committed themselves to grow the agriculture and agro-processing sectors in an inclusive manner that supports all farmers and expands access to both domestic and exports markets. The success of the AAMP hinges on the quality and effectiveness of private and public partnerships established to implement the AAMP goals and measures. Apart from contributing to the AAMP implementation, the NAMC has also been tasked to coordinate commitments and implementation efforts of different social partners including labour, commodity associations and government in all three-spheres of the state. The implementation of the AAMP will primarily take place through the two delivery models, namely the Value Chain Round Tables and Transformation Schemes. Certain aspects of the AAMP might require a unique implementation approach but those will be treated case-by-case. The NAMC is developing a monitoring and evaluation framework that will track the implementation of the AAMP by all social partners. Moreover, the NAMC is developing a mechanism to address the outstanding labour, transformation and finance issues that were not finalised in the first phase of AAMP negotiations.

To continue providing quality services to the Minister and Directly Affected Groups, the NAMC must ensure safety of its internal staff and undertake continuous upskilling. To that effect, the NAMC has established the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Committee. The OHS Committee monitors the implementation of safety measures within the NAMC environment. After the approval of the OHS policy, the Human Capital and Corporate Communications Division conducted a policy workshop for NAMC employees to create awareness, better understanding of the policy and ensure compliance.

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