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SA agro-processing 'needs investment'

6 November 2012

South Africa has a world-class agro-processing sector but its potential is not fully recognised and requires investment, says Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson.

"South Africa has a world-class agro-processing and marketing infrastructure that provides for local needs as well as limited exports of a range of dairy products - largely to countries on our continent," Joemat-Pettersson said at the World Dairy Summit in Cape Town on Monday.

"We also supply a wide range of dairy equipment from global companies to other countries on the continent."

Despite this, the potential of the country's sector remained unexploited, she said.

'Addressing unemployment and poverty'

South Africa's dairy industry is the third-largest livestock sector in the country, with an estimated total turnover of R10-billion at producer level. The total number of milk producers in South Africa is at 2 347.

"They produce more than 2.6-billion litres of milk and employ more than 30 000 workers. This important sector assists government in addressing some of our challenges, particularly unemployment and poverty," she said.

The dairy industry plays a critical role in ensuring global food security through the diverse range of its product offerings, including fresh milk, cheese, cream and yoghurt.

It also ensures employment and income generation for millions of men and women across the globe. In this way, the sector ensures that basic needs of people are met, and their standard of living is increased.

Sharing experiences and best practice

The 2012 World Dairy Summit, organised by the South African National Committee of the International Dairy Federation, brings together producers, processors, technical experts and various other stakeholders to deliberate the challenges of the sector, and also to share experiences and best practices.

South Africa supports a range of milk farming systems, from intensive total mixed ration to grass-fed and dairy ranching.

A group of dairy farmers from Mozambique will soon be attending a course at the agricultural development centre outside George as part of a bilateral cooperation programme between South Africa and Mozambique.

This effort has been highly successful, with the Consumer Education Project of Milk SA last year receiving the award for best campaign in the world from the International Dairy Federation and Dairy Standard Agency.

Source: SANews.gov.za

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