By Aurelia Mbokazi

Sanlam Gauge sectoral workshop addresses industry growth as part of a transformation initiative.

The agricultural industry is a critical sector of the economy, responsible for the nation’s food security. Apart from global challenges such as climate change, the SA agri-sector is further burdened by the slow pace of transformation and land reform, barriers to entry for black commercial farmers and access to funding.

These challenges sparked robust discussions recently in September when agri-sector leaders from the private sector and government met to deliberate on the state of transformation during the Sanlam Gauge sectoral workshop. Moderated by Andile Khumalo, co-founder of Sanlam Gauge — a report that measures the level of B-BBEE activity — the aim of the online gathering was to facilitate meaningful conversations that will improve transformation outcomes in the sector.

The Sanlam Gauge report revealed that the agri-sector is lagging behind most industries, particularly in the ownership and socioeconomic development (SED) weightings of the scorecards. Presenting the agri-sector outcomes, Lerato Ratsoma, MD of Empowerdex, commended all stakeholders for their commitment to transformation, but cautioned that more has to be done.

The industry weighting for black equity ownership was 19.4 out of 25 points. Management control sat at 10.2 out of 19 points, below expectations for an environment that is considered casual, said Ratsoma. Skills development weighting is 14.9 out of 20 points, while other industries achieved above 15 points. For the enterprise and supplier development weighting it scores 35 out of 40 points.

The SED scorecard of 10.6 points out of 15 was, according to Ratsoma, an “anomaly” because most companies reach their SED goals a lot quicker. “We expected close to 100%, if not 100%, since this is basically CSI,” she said.