BRICS countries have been challenged to take the lead and develop a system that can create a resilient farming community.
The call was made during panel discussions focusing on agriculture, held on Tuesday at the Sandton Convention Centre.
The discussions were held at the BRICS (Brazil, India, China, South Africa and Russia) Business Forum, which looked at sustainable development in agriculture across BRICS nations and the promotion of trade and investment in the sector across the bloc of nations.
Emphasising the need for the creation of a reward system, the Indian chapter of the BRICS Business Council chair, Jai Shroff, said food security is a big issue, while climate change has a huge impact on farmers.
“Soil is the biggest thing for government and we need to create a reward system for farmers to sustain agriculture.
“If BRICS can take a lead, we can see a massive change that will really help improve soil and also create a revenue system,” he noted.
He said leaders should also reward farmers for sustaining the environment.
Bruno Ferla, who chairs the Brazil chapter of the BRICS Business Council, said his home country, which is currently one of the powerhouses of agriculture, managed to achieve this with technology to produce food.
Meanwhile, Chief Economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber, Wandile Sihlobo, noted a current change in temperature of certain chemicals and seeds, which are so critical for agricultural productivity.
“BRICS countries have to take [a] particular view on how they think about that,” he said, adding that improving intra-trade is very important, especially for South Africa.
Agreement to export avocados to China
Meanwhile, Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister, Thoko Didiza, today signed an agreement with Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi for the export of agricultural products to China.
Didiza expressed excitement on the signing of the agreement with China.
“Gaining access to China is a vital step in driving an export led growth for the South African avocado, which is a commitment the government has made under the Agriculture and Agro-Processing Master Plan.
“In recent years, the avocado industry has expanded by 4 750 hectares increasing the total hectares to over 18 000,” Didiza said.
Didiza added that China is likely to become one of the world’s major consumers of avocados and thus offers an immense opportunity to expand avocado production in South Africa.
The agreement comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping is on a State Visit to South Africa. Xi is also attending the 15th BRICS Summit which is being held at the Sandton Convention Centre.