BUSINESS CONFERENCE CONTINUES AT THE ESSENCE FESTIVAL
Written by: Mfundo Knowledge Mthembu
The Essence Festival Durban continued with its second day of the business conference held at the Durban International Convention Centre (ICC).
Prestigious and international guests with local delegates gathered at the ICC to engage in robust discussions about business-related issues, while sharing innovative international knowledge and key elements of making various businesses, agriculture in particular, to co-exist with the government.
Amongst guests were MEC for Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala, Deputy Mayor of eThekwini Municipality Councillor Fawzia Peer, and Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Flower Council Jane Ngige.
“Kenya Flower Council is an association of flower growers and exploiters that focuses on market access requirements and also looking at the responsible growing of flowers out of Kenya. We are now doing about 130 000 tons out of Kenya. I must say Kenya is one of the global producers, we are number three after Ecuador and Colombia in terms of production,” said Ngige.
Zikalala added that the government’s mission should be about economic emancipation of the people, especially those who were previously disfranchised and disadvantaged.
“In the case of South Africa, our ultimate objective is the attainment of the national democratic society, which is a society that will be characterised by non-racial, non-sexist democratic united and prosperous society,” said Zikalala. “Equal rights and freedom is important but without economic liberation that will be nothing worth celebration.”
Minister of Trade and Industry in Cameroon, Joseph Motomby, mentioned a number of elements of business relationships between government, private and public agricultural sectors in his country.
“Agriculture is the most important sector in Cameroon. Our economy is based mostly on agricultural endeavours. The agricultural sector is mostly made up of Small, Medium, Micro sized, Enterprises (SMMEs). The government four years ago took a position which is to recall a second generation agriculture, in which we try to mechanise,” said Motomby.
Zikalala promised and proposed ways in which the government is looking at, not only to support small businesses but to also be part of the transformation of small businesses.
“We come in to support through the Department of Agriculture, through implements, we’ve got a programme called Mechanisation which is part of radical socio-economic transformation. Through that programme the market that is owned by government (through the) nutrition programme in all schools, the programme of foods in all hospitals and prisons. And all other government entities, we are aiming to procure foods and agricultural products from small agricultural farmers,” concluded Zikalala.
*Caption: Panelists from left – Joseph Motomby (Cameroon), Jane Ngige (Kenya) and Agriculture House CEO, Sifiso Myeni (South Africa).