Earlier today the Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, hosted the newly appointed Executive Director of AgriSA, Christo van der Rheede and the newly elected President, Pierre Vercueil in Stellenbosch.
Commenting on the appointment of Christo van der Rheede, Minister Meyer said "Christo van der Rheede is a respected leader in the Agricultural Sector. He is competent, caring and committed. I look forward to working with him as his support and development of both commercial and smallholder farmers resonates well with my key priorities. I am pleased that the Board of AgriSA under the able leadership of Mr Pierre Vercuiel will support him.”
Minister Meyer highlighted that while Covid-19 remains a threat, we should continue to adhere to the recommended safety measures. He emphasized that we have now shifted our focus to include economic recovery, and Agriculture will play a critical role in this regard.
“StatSA’s Quarter 1, 2020 (28%) and Quarter 2, 2020 GDP (15%) quarterly gives us the confidence to believe that Agriculture will lead South Africa's economic recovery. Priorities include farmer development, rural safety and market access" continued Meyer.
Agreeing with Minister Meyer, Christ van der Rheede said: “Economic growth requires a conducive environment, policy certainty, but above all mutual respect, co-operation and trust. Agri SA is committed to collaborating with various layers of provincial and national government entities to drive economic growth, job creation and building and growing and inclusive sector. Without these outcomes, we will not be able to bring peace and prosperity for all of our people.”
Meyer warned that the killing of farmers and farmer workers posed a severe threat to the Western Cape and South Africa's rural economy.
Meyer: "We cannot allow a situation where farmers and farm workers have to be continually looking over their shoulders. An attack on a farmer and farmworker is an attack on the economy.”
Meyer stressed that he was looking forward to partnering with AgriSA in the areas of innovation in agriculture, rural safety and farmer support and development.
Meyer: “AgriSA is one of the oldest agricultural organisations in South Africa and we want to draw on its vast experience.”
AgriSA’s Christo van der Rheede and Pierre Vercueil agreed and highlighted that organised agriculture and farmers serve as a depository of agricultural expertise and knowledge that must be leveraged to bring about sustainability and profitability for the sector-specific and for the country at large. To be of service to the country is to feed the nation. It is indeed a noble calling.”
Van der Rheede’s comments come as the world is preparing to celebrate World Food Day on 16 October 2020.
Minister Meyer: “Covid-19 has highlighted that food security is still a major challenge. The WCDoA’s One Home, One Garden Campaign has resulted in the establishment of over 1400 home gardens. The aim is to shift the focus from food relief to food security.”
"The Western Cape is committed to growing the economy and growing jobs. Agriculture is a sunrise sector and holds the promise of turning the South African economy around" concluded Meyer.