‘Repositioning the FS for Agricultural Value Adding and Processing towards 2030’
The inaugural two-day Agro-Processing Summit hosted by the Free State Department Agriculture and Rural Development was held under the theme: ‘Repositioning the Free State Province for Agricultural Value Adding and Processing towards 2030’.
Its main objectives were to identify the conditions necessary to create a broader and more solid knowledge base for the promotion of sustainable agro processing, including training and information-sharing needs; facilitate the reorientation of urban agricultural markets; develop targeted intervention strategies for up scaling and migration of emerging farmers to commercial farmers; position Free State as an agro processing investment hub for the country and the continent of Africa and reach consensus on the role of each stakeholder in the development and reindustrialisation process of the agricultural sector through agro processing.
Among the participants at the summit were food producers, retailers, food service companies, processors, traders, exporters and other intermediaries, as well as service providers and companies involved in contract farming and related market-linkage arrangements. All spheres of government including various state entities such as the education sector, training authorities and development oriented entities were also represented.
From the private sector value chain or multi-stakeholder associations, there were farmer organisations, including cooperatives, commodity groups, civil society organisations actively involved in value chain work and policymakers.
There were also participants from financial institutions, universities and the media.
Some of the topics discussed at the summit include:
Agro Processing opportunities and challenges in line with national priorities.
Unlocking local economic development through implementation of Agri-Parks
Agro-Processing the real story – Learning from processors.
The role of Government in unlocking the potential of agricultural processing and value addition.
Unlocking the potential of emerging agro-processing farmers through targeted interventions aimed at unlocking markets – the role and experiences of economic development agencies
Funding agro processing business – the role of funding institutions
Creating black industrialists within the agricultural sector – targeted interventions
Agro processing – Regulatory environment
Proposed Agro Processing Strategy for the Free State