The United Democratic Movement (UDM) has been following the developments in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry with keen interest. We always keep a close eye on this Department because of its importance to food security and job creation.
Over the past few months there have been numerous complaints from various stakeholders about the inaccessibility of the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson. The South African Poultry Association and the Red Meat Association of South Africa have gone on record as having found it difficult to get an audience with the Minister to discuss the challenges facing their industries.
Recently, the Mail & Guardian reported that there has been a furore over government’s granting of fishing quotas for abalone in the Eastern and Western Cape. Apparently, fishing communities accuse the Minister of using the fishing quotas to buy votes.
The UDM calls on the Minister to deepen her consultation with various agricultural industry associations by availing herself for meetings with them, as the broad stakeholder meetings the Department currently holds are not suitable for discussions on industry specific challenges.
We also call on the Minister to take the Nation and the relevant agricultural industry associations into her confidence by explaining the rationale behind the selective approval of fishing quotas in the Eastern and Western Cape.
A failure to work closely with the different associations would result in food security and job creation being just a pipe dream.