"For sustainable food production and optimal resource utilisation, we need a land reform model by which a symbiotic relationship can be developed between successful commercial farmers and new entrants as well as small-scale farmers," said Johannes Möller at a meeting of the World Farmers' Organisation held in Rome on 7 June 2012. "It is not merely a mentorship relationship, but essentially a business relationship," he said, including aspects such as production planning, collective input acquisition, deploying equipment and marketing which is an increasingly challenging function in terms of logistics and compliance to health and food safety requirements.
Responding to these remarks, several African farmer delegates echoed the relevance of such an approach for their countries. Mr Nduati Kariuki from the Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers said that African governments, multi-lateral institutions and donors should recognise the aspiration of African farmers to become successful large-scale commercial producers. "The focus should therefore, shift from sustaining a small-scale producer dispensation towards empowering farmers to become effective participants in the commercial food value chain," he said.
It is expected from African countries to substantially expand their food production for meeting local requirements but also that of a growing world population. "It is evident that the proven expertise and the critical mass of a large number of established commercial farmers are an indispensable asset for South Africa to enhance the success rate for new entrants to agriculture and, to a limited extend, also to agricultural development elsewhere in Africa," said Möller.