19 OCTOBER 2022
On the 16 – 18 October 2022, AFASA held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and 10 year Anniversary celebration at the ICC in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal under the theme “Collaborating and Rebuilding to Strengthen The Collective African Farmer’s Voice.”
Important to note is that the last AFASA AGM was held in 2019. One of the key objectives of this AGM was to reflect on the performance of the organisation over the last 10 years, with an objective to look into the future. AFASA shared with its members a new approach that seeks to put women, youth and commodities at the core of its delivery model.
Farmer attendance from all 9 provinces exceeded expectations. The occasion was graced by political leadership from both National and Provinces. The Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, was the first to grace the podium and addressed areas of rural safety and stock theft that pose a threat to the agricultural sector.
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) reaffirmed its commitment to work closely with AFASA and support the development growth of small farmers. Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, committed to tackle farmers concerns on matters of access to water including fast-tracking issuing of water licenses. Furthermore, clarity was provided on the implementation of the Agriculture and Agroprocessing Master Plan (AAMP) through the virtual presentation at the Gala Dinner delivered by the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Minister Thoko Didiza. The AgriBEE made commitments to support the transformation of the agricultural sector through the AgriBEE Fund.
Issues related to access to land, finance including the challenges that are an obstacle to farmers graduating into the commercial space were tackled during the high-level panel discussions by experts from both the public and private sector. History was made when AFASA launched the Cannabis commodity. This commodity is expected to attract and develop farmers who are interested in the cannabis farming, working with government, private companies, research institutions and all key role players in this growing sector.
AFASA honoured its late President, Dr Vuyo Mahlati, by launching the annual Dr Vuyo Mahlati Awards which are given to individuals or entities that embody what Dr Vuyo Mahlati stood for i.e., commercialisation of black farmers; transformation of the agricultural value chain, rural development and women empowerment. Accordingly, on the 17 October 2022, the founders of AFASA where honoured with this prestigious award during the AFASA Gala Dinner for their bravery and valour in establishing the voice of African Farmers.
As part of the renewal process, AFASA has initiated amongst other interventions, the review of its constitution to be in line with its vision and to correct issues that historically compromised its performance, however, by the time the AGM took place, this process had not been finalised. AFASA acknowledges the frustration caused by the delay in the finalisation of the constitution on part of the Commodities. It is for this reason that a panel led by an independent lawyer was immediately appointed to work and identify areas that needed to be amended in the constitution and present it to all members the following day. The AGM had since resolved to take the proposed amendments to the provinces and engage with the provincial constituencies of AFASA to seek mandate to implement this important resolution of the 2022 AFASA AGM. Changing an organisational constitution is technical albeit complex and consultation is central to the process. AFASA remains committed to finalising the constitution, but the correct organisational processes cannot be compromised.
The next chapter of activities of AFASA include the provincial roadshows on both the constitutional change, implementation of the AAMP and workshops focusing to assist members to apply for the AgriBEE Fund, and blended finance through the Land Bank and water licenses.
– AFASA Head Office