SAPPO Bi-Weekly Update

Week 29 (2022)


Who do we become?

In the current macro-economic uncertainty, it is easy to become disillusioned with organised industry bodies’ ability to enable the sustainability of the interconnected agricultural ecosystem. In addition to the unfolding global geopolitical shifts impacting adversely on the food system, it is increasingly apparent that a wave of protectionist trade policies is set to further challenge and disrupt how the collective sustainability of South African agriculture is maintained. Fragmentation is already becoming prevalent on multiple levels. To industry bodies, the question is who, or even what, do we collective evolve into as we try to reposition ourselves in the post-COVID economy. My sense is that the answer lies in data integration. Among industry bodies, there is so much institutional knowledge about the functioning of each segment of their respective value chains. Over the years, many aspects of farmers’ data have been digitised and yielded significant improvements in management capability and output efficiencies. This process was largely driven by technological innovations of input suppliers, off-takers, and financial institutions. Unfortunately, the practice unintentionally led to a fragmented and often impeded data landscape, where the potential of data aggregation remains underexploited. As agriculturists, we should realise that our future competitive advantage will be the application of industry-owned intelligence and data, and not the ability to own and monetise it in a fragmented and limited fashion. SAPPO is actively working to integrate all data points across the pork value chain. We believe that this will enable the self-regulation required in an environment of accelerated institutional decay. Looking ahead, industry bodies will have to become data houses that steer the sustainability of individual farmers and entire industries.  

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