September 4, 2023

Omnia’s Inaugural Dialogue Champions Solutions for SA Agriculture

Omnia’s first industry dialogue sessions at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), an accredited business school, brought together experts to tackle challenges in South African agriculture and highlight the need for collaborative innovation in Agribusiness. The event focused on addressing challenges in South African agriculture and fostering collaborative innovation in Agribusiness.

Here’s a summary of each speaker’s key points:

Seelan Gobalsamy, Omnia CEO, highlighted the global ramifications, emphasizing that the agriculture sector contends with climate change’s impacts, supply chain disruptions stemming from conflicts and extreme weather events, and the importance of resource optimization through technology.

Janice Kew, a Bloomberg reporter and panel moderator, acknowledged the hurdles presented by armed conflicts in sub-Saharan African countries, which impact food security and trade. The continent has also experienced a substantial rise in food prices, underscoring the issue of high food costs.

Francois Fouche, an Economist & Researcher, underscored the necessity for African nations to collaborate and cultivate markets to facilitate increased intra-regional trade. He emphasized that addressing food demand requires technological investment and highlighted the potential of Africa’s youthful population for skills development.

Mandla Mpofu, Omnia Agriculture MD, stressed the role of local investment in technology and production capacity to mitigate global impacts on agriculture. He highlighted the importance of innovation, as a means to enhance competitiveness. Mbali Nwoko, a Multi-Award-Winning Farmer, emphasized the importance of partnerships in the agriculture industry, especially considering high input costs.

Christo van der Rheede, CEO at Agri SA, discussed the lack of government support and guidance for transformation efforts in the agriculture sector. He pointed out the inadequate allocation of the national budget to small-scale farmers and advocated for a focus on innovation and technology.

The consensus was that the South African agriculture sector confronts challenges due to inadequate state support and various external factors. Collaboration among Agribusinesses, investment in technology, and innovative solutions emerged as pivotal strategies to heighten competitiveness. Additionally, the speakers underscored the significance of intra-regional trade, partnerships, and empowering small-scale farmers to achieve substantial economic development. The recurring theme among the speakers was the call to proactively take initiative, rather than relying solely on government intervention.