top of page

Using Agri-hubs and Agri-parks for agricultural sector inclusion


Agri-hubs and Agri-parks, otherwise commonly referred to as agricultural hubs and agricultural parks, can be defined as a model which provides services and facilities to farmers, relating to agro-production, processing, logistics, marketing, training, extension services, equipment hire, physical infrastructure and packaging. The concept of an Agri-hub is based on the idea that by bringing together the various stakeholders within the agricultural value chain: farmers, buyers, and service providers, the value chain can be strengthened, leading to increased agricultural productivity, inclusivity and profitability, as well as market-driven combination and the integration of various agricultural activities and rural transformation services. This practice would be consistent with the transformational goals envisaged in the preamble of our Constitution which seeks to bridge the gap between the injustices of the past and our present constitutional dispensation[1]. This model would certainly ensure that smallholder farmers and members of the marginalised communities which previously did not have access to such industries, are enabled to meaningfully participate in the agro-processing sector. [2]


The adoption of such a model within the agricultural sector in Southern Africa can be viewed as a potential solution to the challenges faced by small holder farmers in respect of access to participation in the sector, through the provision of markets, financing, training and facilities that the model would introduce. A culture of inclusion could be introduced into the agricultural sector through this model. As to date, the agricultural sector in Southern Africa has historically faced challenges in relation to inclusion, which challenges could be overcome through this model. This, as a consequence of a history of colonial conquest and inequality, has resulted in the prevalence of socio-economic disparities among communities which have hindered the ability of those communities to enter the industry, particularly for small-scale farmers and members of marginalised communities.


Thus, the adoption of such a model would promote inclusion in the agricultural sector by supporting rural enterprises and the development of rural industries and allow members of such rural communities to integrate into the market. The Agri hub and Agri-park model would facilitate the means to provide small-scale farmers and members of marginalised communities with access to services and facilities that were previously only available to a few large commercial farmers. The provision of such capacity-building practices, mentorship, farm infrastructure, extension services, and production and mechanisation initiatives would not only lead to the development of small scale farmers, but in turn would benefit the sector as well as improve the productivity and output of the sector and promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector by bringing together multiple stakeholders, creating opportunities for collaboration and knowledge-sharing.[3]


An important consideration for inclusion in the agricultural sector however, is that effective regulation would be critical to ensure that small-scale farmers are not disadvantaged by larger commercial farmers. This concern, however, will be safeguarded through legislative protection which would be afforded to smallholder farmers through express protection of their ownership rights in relation to their practice and the profits borne by Agri-hubs and Agri-parks. Such protection of their rights would be provided for in provincial legislations which would regulate the split of profits between smallholder farmers, government, commercial farmers and participating financial institutions.


In conclusion, the Agri-hub and Agri park model has emerged as a potential solution to the challenges of inclusion in the agricultural sector in Southern Africa. By providing access to markets, financing, training, and storage facilities, Agri-hubs and Agri-parks can help to promote the development of small-scale farmers and members from marginalised communities in realisation of the ideals of transformation within the industry, this would also improve food security in the country. However, the effective regulation and the implementation of the model will be crucial to ensure the operation of the model is carried out in a fair and transparent manner. Policy intervention will thus be required to provide guidelines and a framework for the implementation of the model in such a way which safeguards the inclusivity, innovation, and sustainability in the agricultural industry.


Written by: I Ka-Mbonane (LLB) (LLM) (ND Pub Admin) (PGD Contract Drafting), N Booysen (BA Law) (LLB)

[1] The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996. [2] V.M Mmbengwa, T.M Khoza, K. Rambau, J Rakuaambo, ‘Assessment of the participation of smallholder farmers in agro-processing industries of Gauteng Province’ (2018) OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development 11:02, 11. [3] W.O Chamberlain, W Anseeuw, ‘Inclusiveness revisited: Assessing inclusive businesses in South African agriculture’ (2019) DEVELOPMENT SOUTHERN AFRICA Vol. 36, No. 5, 608.


Comentarios


bottom of page