Honourable Deputy Minister Gen Bheki Cele and other Deputy Ministers
Chairperson and Members of the Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources
Members of National Council of Provinces
MECs of Agriculture
Distinguished guests and
Ladies and gentlemen
Honourable Chairperson, during our National Budget Vote I cautioned against politicizing agriculture and called for a collective effort to address challenges faced by both farmers and farmworkers alike.
Unfortunately, South Africa is experiencing an upsurge of criminality which has manifested in the brutal killings of farmworkers and farmers alike. This is a blight on the very fiber of our nation and can no longer remain unabated.
The issue of food security affects us all Chairperson, rich, poor, black and white and in a time when sowing division appears politically expedient; only unity of purpose in advancing our national interest, can create a better South Africa we can all be proud of.
Honourable Members, today, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) is tabling a total budget of R6 807 billion, of which R3, 775 billion is ring-fenced for transfers of conditional and parliamentary grants.
In terms of Conditional Grants, R1, 645 billion has been allocated to the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP).
Revitalisation of the Agriculture and Agro-Processing Value Chain (RAAVC)
Chairperson, in his 2015 State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma pronounced on the Nine-Point Plan to boost economic growth and create much-needed jobs. The Revitalisation of the Agriculture and Agro-Processing Value Chain, known as RAAVC, is one among the nine plans through which economic growth and job creation will be driven.
Informed by the National Development Plan, the RAAVC sets a target of 1 million jobs by 2030. A sizeable portion of these jobs reside within the Agro-Processing sector, and through the support of smallholder producers.
For the 2017/18 financial year, we seek to continue the strategic approach of RAAVC in partnership with relevant national departments such as the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, and the Department of Trade and Industry, including sector organisations, labour organisations, and civil society.
Honourable Chairperson, in terms of section 80 of the Marine Living Resources Act applicants are allowed to lodge appeals against the decision of the Delegated Authority.
The process is still underway and I would like to appeal to all interested and affected parties to allow the process to unfold and if any party is aggrieved by any decision taken by the department, I encourage such a party to follow the appeal processes that are provided for by law.
It is my intention to finalise the allocations for the West Coast Rock Lobster and Abalone sectors by 31 July this year.
The establishment of the Fisheries Transformation Council, in accordance with the Marine Living Resource Act, No 18 of 1998, Chapter 3, Section 5(29); will be prioritised.
We have also committed to finalise all the appeals that have been submitted with regard to the above mentioned nine sectors by 30 September 2017. The department will soon start with the FRAP 2020 process for the twelve fishing sectors that were allocated in 2005 and 2013. These allocations will expire on 31 December 2020.
Honourable members, climate change manifests itself in a variety of ways some of which can result in devastating destruction and loss of life, as recently experienced in wild fires of Knysna and Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape; coupled with the flooding in Cape Town.
Honourable Chairperson with your indulgence, I would like to request a moment of silence for those who lost their lives during the recent devastation and those whose lives were lost due to criminality within agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
Honourable members, to address the drought challenge, the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) is participating in two public-private partnerships namely the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) project and the Improved Maize for African Soils (IMAS) project.
The WEMA project is aimed at developing and deploying drought-tolerant maize hybrids royalty-free to smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. The WEMA project is coordinated by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and involves national agricultural research systems in five countries – Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
This is a good demonstration that working together we can do more.
The Kaonafatso ya Dikgomo (KyD) Scheme is a special purpose vehicle aimed at accelerating the participation of smallholder producers into the mainstream livestock industries. The KyD Scheme strives to catapult smallholder farmers to all levels of the livestock value chain.
The Scheme is gradually realising outcomes of this effort illustrated through progress made by individuals and communities.
Increased awareness about the importance of income generation from livestock has culminated in escalated demand for localised cattle auction sale activities.
The close cooperation between the ARC and provincial departments of agriculture as well as other partners enabled the execution of successful cattle auction sales in rural areas.
In an effort to realise an inclusive livestock value chain, other participants of the Scheme are also venturing into intensive production systems such as feedlots. In this regard one of the Scheme’s participants has initiated a small-scale feedlot based on weaner supply from local farmers and ease the barriers to market for smallholder farmers.
In the Eastern Cape, a partnership with the Department of Land Reform and Rural Development and Wool Grower Association will see 13 projects supported with shearing sheds and rams. My department will contribute R15.4 million towards the wool production in the current financial year.
Investment in Macadamia nuts in the Eastern Cape has contributed towards improved livelihoods for the rural community of Ncera. The production of Macadamia has now been extended to Willowvale.
A total of 14 Aquaculture projects will receive R85 million and create 256 jobs. Poultry production has been allocated R128 million which will benefit 46 projects and create 1 789 jobs.
R243 million is set aside to support 94 red meat producers with stock and irrigation dams, dipping tanks and handling facilities.
During the 2016/17 financial year, the Free State Department of Agriculture and Rural Development was able to spend 98% of its R174 298 million CASP allocation. Thirty eight projects were supported and a total of 2 424 people benefitted directly during the year under review.
The Gauteng Department of Agriculture supported 122 land and agrarian smallholder producers with both production inputs and on-farm infrastructure through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) and Ilima/Letsema grant. During the 2016/17 financial year, 117 jobs were created, 73 from CASP and 44 from Ilima/Letsema.
In the 2016/17 financial year, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development created 2 699 jobs through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP). 2 219 jobs were created under Ilima/Letsema grant.
In a further effort to broaden the food-base in South Africa, DAFF also supported a project for improvement of amadumbe for production and income generation for small holders’ farmers as part of a participatory breeding programme.
This project is aimed at broadening the South African food-base by making improved high quality plant varieties available to the local farmers. Farmer participatory screening of a wide range of amadumbe cultivars is underway in Kwa-Zulu Natal to select cultivars suitable to the farmers’ growing conditions.
In the previous financial year, the Limpopo Province has through CASP supported a total of 447 farmers, across the CASP pillars. Through the CASP support, 1 423 job opportunities were created, out of which 706 were for women and 133 for youth.
Honourable members, communal area grazing lands are degraded, and retrogressive succession of vegetation is notable in high population zones of Limpopo, mainly the Sekhukhune district. The Sekhukhune district was a focus area due to the increase in cattle herds mainly the Jersey, which has added pressure on the fragile mixed bushveld and grassland ecosystems with inherently low carrying capacity.
During the 2016/17 financial year, the Mpumalanga provincial department of agriculture created 498 jobs through CASP. These jobs were created in the vegetables, red meat, poultry and aquaculture sub-sectors.
During the 2016/17 financial year, the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture and Land Reform created 133 jobs through CASP while the Ilima/Letsema grant created 538 jobs.
The ARC Ganyesa Devil’s Claw Project in conjunction with DAFF and the North West Province is commendable. This community-based project was initiated to train the Ganyesa community about the sustainable harvesting and utilisation of the medicinal plant devil’s claw. In this project more than 800 community members from Ganyesa and the surrounding areas were trained on how to sustainably harvest devil’s claw from the wild without threatening its existence.
For the 2016/17 financial year, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture created 1 712 jobs through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP). Through the Ilima/Letsema grant, the department managed to create 825 jobs.
Honourable members, Aquaculture as a new area of growth presents an enormous opportunity to bring new entrants in the sector as it grows and expands. The sector also presents an opportunity to bring in the youth, women and historically disadvantaged people into the sector.
The sector can accommodate new entrants because of the nature of activities that are diverse from small scale to commercial as well as different technology, methodologies and species.
Chairperson, we are pleased to announce that the World Aquaculture Conference will take place in Cape Town from 26-30 June 2017 attracting more than 3,000 delegates from over 100 countries.
Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production sectors in the world. The sector presents a good opportunity to diversity fish production to satisfy local demand (import substitution), food security, export opportunities, create jobs and contribute towards GDP.
Honourable Members, to address the transformation imperative my Department is committed to a gender centric approach in its various programmes. The Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award is but one such initiative that recognises the role women play in shifting perceptions of what a successful farmer looks like.
It is also important to target young people especially Agriculture graduates who are unemployed and ensure that we facilitate their experiential learning through mentorships and exposure to commercial farms.
Honourable Chairperson, in conclusion, the sector continues to be plagued by outbreaks of animal, plant diseases and pests. Recently Zimbabwe announced an outbreak of Avian Influenza. South Africa immediately suspended all trade in live birds and poultry, meat, table eggs and other unprocessed poultry products and communicated this to the Zimbabwean Chief Veterinary Officer. We have heightened inspections of all consignments, including all private and public vehicles at all our ports of entry, especially in and out of Zimbabwe.
There is a critical need to capacitate our Animal Production, Food and Health Safety branch; as they are at the forefront of managing and detecting potential outbreaks that could adversely affect our sector.
In closing Honourable Chairperson I would like to thank the Deputy Minister Bheki Cele for his commitment and counsel.
I thank the Chairperson and members of the Select Committee on Mineral Resources and Land.
I also thank all nine MECs responsible for agriculture for the support.
To the Department and Ministry staff thank you for your agility, work ethic and commitment to the vision of the Department. To you I say meditate on the words of Khalil Gibran when he says; “… the teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.”
I Thank You.