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This creates a major challenge for all in the sector to ensure that new entrants into agriculture have access to the productive resources and services needed for success.
In future, much greater priority in allocating public funds for the sector will be given to promoting new entrants, supporting the rural poor and providing services that assist their upliftment.
In the agricultural sector we are already seeing a positive response in terms of production and export performance, and in competition in supplying farm requirements and marketing.
Farmers have made great progress towards reduced reliance on state subsidies and towards sourcing the services they need from the private sector and from farmer organisations.
The past few years have seen rapid change in the farming sector.
It is very encouraging to see the dynamism and adaptability shown by so many in the sector; by new farmers who are taking up the challenge; by established commercial farmers who have responded rapidly to radical changes in the established order; by the private sector, large and small, which is undertaking new functions for new types of clients; and by staff of national and provincial agriculture departments who are closely involved in this process of change.
Encouragingly, many individual commercial farmers have shown in recent years that they can play a constructive role in facilitating and supporting land redistribution projects, which will contribute to social stability and safety in rural areas.
A prosperous agriculture, based on cooperation and collaboration, will play a part in removing instability and fear.
These changes are also part of a process of freeing the economy from business-inhibiting aspects of regulation and state intervention.
We have completed policy adjustments to align South African agriculture with the new world trading order, and we are active in international fora to promote further international trade reforms.
We will continue to press for more equitable access for our products to the European Union (EU) and other international markets.
The focus of future Government funding for services for commercial farming will be on public goods that are needed for efficient growth by the sector, such as rural infrastructure, basic research, and epidemic and pest control.