The National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) is a statutory body established in terms of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act of 1996, to advise the Minister of Agriculture and directly affected groups on all agricultural marketing issues in the agriculture and food industry, taking into account the needs of stakeholders. The objectives of the Act are:
The increasing of market access for all market participants;
The promotion of the efficiency of the marketing of agricultural products;
The optimisation of export earnings from agricultural products;
The enhancement of the viability of the agricultural sector.
The NAMC recently established a Research Division, formally known as the Markets and Economic Research Centre (MERC) as a vehicle to undertake agricultural marketing and other related economics research as part of its mandate. The placement of the NAMC as a public entity with direct links with directly affected groupings in the agricultural sector on the one hand and the national and provincial departments of agriculture as policy makers on the other hand, give it clout and influence in all agricultural marketing policy matters. This realization has resulted in FANRPAN approaching the NAMC to host the FANRPAN South Africa node. This culminated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NAMC and FANRPAN in November 2006 that effected the NAMC's taking over of the FANRPAN South Africa node from the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development at the University of Pretoria.
During the first quarter of 2007, the FANRPAN South Africa node pursued possible options for funding of a proposal on the possible future roles for smallholder agriculture in South Africa. Doug Merrey held discussions with Ramagwai Sebola, Director, Research and Technology Development at the national Department of Agriculture (DoA) to discuss the proposal. Mr Sebola expressed "in principle" interest in the proposal pending buy-in from his colleagues from the Directorate: Marketing. By the end of March 2007, the proposal was being studied by the Directorate Marketing at the DoA.