On 30 and 31 May, national government held the Inaugural Annual Conference on the New Growth Path in Johannesburg. Expert speakers from around the country were invited to make presentations in various themed sessions, to advise government on how to go about creating the 5 million new jobs they have promised to deliver by 2020. Prof Swilling was invited to present in a session entitled ‘Agriculture and Climate Change’ but was to be away in Europe at a meeting of the UNEP International Resource Panel. Candice Kelly, who heads the Sustainable Agriculture Programme at the SI, presented in his place.
Government has indicated that they wish to create ‘opportunities for 300000 households in agricultural smallholder schemes’ as part of the New Growth Path. With only five minutes to present, Candice had to succinctly make a case for the need to promote regenerative (aka sustainable) agriculture to these small farmers. The presentation is available below for download. The audience responded very well to the presentation, with a large number of the questions at the end of the session directed to Candice (rather than the other four panellists). Questions such as “how should we do it?” showed that some government audience members were interested in the benefits of this approach for carbon sequestration, climate resilience and sustainable livelihoods for the farmers.