Dr Martha Tshitshi Mbatha
Promoting Agribusiness through Partnerships & Knowledge
The Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA) has been in existence for just over five years to deal with supporting emerging black commercial farmers, especially in the land reform programme as the raison d’etre. A number of land reform farms were on the brink of collapse due a number of reasons including lack of farming skills by the new owners and over-indebtedness. The period during which the ADA was established was also marked by unprecedented food price hikes and a world economy in recession. The ADA recorded some remarkable success during its first five years of existence, notwithstanding numerous challenges that were faced by the entity.
Recently the ADA and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) completed a clarification of roles exercise which has culminated in a revised (new) mandate for the ADA. The ADA has shifted its focus to on the whole value chain in the agriculture (commonly referred to as agribusiness) although the emphasis is on value-addition to primary agriculture product. The realignment process between DARD and the ADA came at an opportune time when the ADA had started drafting the new five year strategy which would place the entity squarely at the centre of agribusiness development in KwaZulu-Natal.
The ADA has crafted a new strategy as a response to the needs of sector, having done an environmental scan and identified the niche that is intents satisfying. It should be noted that this strategy has been crafted by and large by the ADA itself albeit that some external assistance was sought to clarify and sharpen the strategy. It is in this regard that I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to the ADA management and the staff at large. Lastly, I would like to thank members of the ADA Board of Trustees for their commitment in ensuring that this strategy is crafted accordingly and completed timely as this one of the most important responsibility of the Board.
I believe that the new strategic direction will position the ADA as an expert organisation in the agribusiness par excellence in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and beyond.
The Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA) is a catalytic vehicle that facilitates the growth of a strong, transformed, diversified, dynamic, competitive and sustainable agro-processing industry in KwaZulu-Natal, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD).
It serves as a catalyst for agribusiness development in the province, through focussing on projects that are catalytic in nature and have the following attributes:
• Benefits beyond direct beneficiaries
• Economic spinoffs
• Embrace the whole value chain
• Speed up the development in the whole geographical area.