Conservation agriculture must help keep the food basket of the world filled

2014-08-07
Dr Pieter Mulder

While the world is struggling to find answers about future food security, South Africa’s single largest short term agricultural problem is one of political uncertainty which has been created by government comments and decisions, Dr. Pieter Mulder, leader and parliamentary member of the Freedom Front Plus says.

Dr. Mulder, during his opening speech at the Western Cape Conservation Agriculture Symposium today said the reason for this is that decisions about agriculture is not taken based on facts but on propagandist myths, politically created perceptions and biased stereotypes.

“If this approach is not going to change in future, government will manage our agriculture in such a manner that it will be sending us back to the Middle Ages instead of bringing us into the future,” Dr. Mulder says.

He says conservation agriculture in especially South Africa’s case, is important as soil and water are scarce and extremely precious with 98% of the country’s surface being classified as poor soil of a semi-desert or desert nature.

Only 13% of the country’s 122 million hectares is regarded as suitable arable land.

“The question must be asked whether the government really knows what food security entails and what the future holds on this matter.

“Globally, estimates show that the world’s population will increase from the current 6 billion (in 2010) to more than 9 billion by 2050. Food production will have to increase by 50% in this period.

“If alternatives are not found, an agricultural area similar in size to that of India will have to be found to produce the extra food. This, while factors such as a growing population and droughts already claim approximately 10 million hectares of the earth’s surface annually.

“It is expected that climate change will also have a huge share in the planet’s future food shortages. The big question is therefore how to produce more with less.

“Buzz-words for the future will once again be technology, research, education and conservation agriculture. And government should realise that political interference cannot, against this background, be afforded,” Dr. Mulder said.

 

 

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