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SA: Dowry: Western Cape Agriculture Prov Budget Speech Vote 2008/09 (23/05/2008)

23rd May 2008

By: Site Administrator
Main Preditor Administrator

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Date: 23/05/2008
Source: Department of Agriculture
Title: SA: Dowry: Western Cape Agriculture Prov Budget Speech Vote 2008/09

Budget Speech: Vote 11 on Agriculture, by Western Cape Minister of Agriculture Cobus Dowry

Food security: non-negotiable

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Honourable Speaker, Honourable Premier and Members of this House, ladies and gentlemen,

For four years I have stood here before you to remind you of the value of agriculture. At a time when our minds are filled with thoughts of electricity outages, rising inflation and interest rates and with fuel prices rocketing above any acceptable levels it is my obligation to remind you that while agriculture is also on the receiving end of these pressures; agriculture remains one of the solutions, one of the hope-givers. I want to echo the National minister of agriculture, Me Lulu Xingwana, when she recently said: "through our co-ordinated efforts and actions which include sustainable empowerment initiatives, the challenges can be absorbed and turned into successes."

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Thomas Jefferson was not far off the mark when he said: "cultivators of the earth are most valuable citizens. They are most vigorous, most independent, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bands."

'n Keniaanse spreekwoord lui: "die aarde is nie aan ons gegee deur ons ouers nie, maar aan ons geleen deur ons ongebore kinders".

Mindful of this, my efforts and those of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture have for the past four years been just that; to work vigorously towards liberty for the people of the Western Cape and to make sure that we develop and protect the land which our children are lending us. Liberty to own and cultivate land; freedom to experience food security - in other words the right to at all times have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. The Constitution of our country recognises food security as a fundamental human right and our labours have been focused on turning this right into a reality. Allow me to dwell on food security for a moment.

Die Kerkvader Johannes Calvyn het eeue gelede reeds gesê dit is die plig van die regering om vir die armes te sorg.

Speaker, according to the World Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) there are around 852 million men, women and children who are chronically hungry due to extreme poverty, while up to two billion people lack food security intermittently due to varying degrees of poverty across the globe. South Africa as a country is largely self-sufficient in food. Yet some of our people are faced with hunger and malnutrition. Among those vulnerable to food insecurity are especially women, children and the elderly. For this reason our contribution for the past four years has on the one hand been to enable people to have the financial means to buy food and on the other hand to help people produce their own food within their limited means.

En natuurlik is die stygende voedselpryse vir ons 'n uiters ernstige saak waaraan ons dringend aandag gee. Suid-Afrikaanse huishoudings word in 10 LSM (LSM = Life Style Measure) groepe ingedeel. In LSM 1 (die armste groep) word omtrent 70 persent van beskikbare kontant aan voedsel spandeer, terwyl in LSM 10 (die rykste groep) dit net 10 persent is. Die armste mense word dus die meeste geraak deur stygings in voedselpryse en indien dit nie versag word nie sal ons beslis ongewenste reaksie in Suid-Afrika sien. Die vraag is nou wat om hieromtrent te doen:
a) Die grootste fout sou wees om voedselpryse (veral vir produsente) op 'n laer vlak vas te pen. In hierdie stadium het ons juis die aanmoediging nodig sodat soveel as moontlik voedsel geproduseer word. Indien ons voedselpryse vaspen stuur ons die verkeerde sein uit en kry ons nie die nodige produksie respons nie.
b) Ons moet landbouproduksie stimuleer. Dit is egter nie 'n korttermyn intervensie nie, maar ons het beslis nodig om die produktiwiteit in die landbou te verhoog. Dus, navorsing, voorligting en opleiding in landbou is noodsaaklik ten einde groter hoeveelhede voedsel beskikbaar te stel.
c) Voedselsekuriteitsprojekte is 'n vereiste - hier moet ons dink in terme van beide gemeenskap-gebaseerde projekte en ook in terme van individuele groentetuine.

Ons het dus verskeie opsies en ek en my departement poog om soveel moontlik met die beskikbare begroting te doen om dit aan te spreek. U sal dus sien dat substansiële bedrae geld begroot word vir voedselsekuriteit projekte sowel as vir die skep van infrastruktuur.

It also becomes the opportunity for farmers, farm workers and the general public to ask me: Dowry, now what have you contributed since we put you there? And they have the right to expect this from me. For this reason, I've structured the rest of my speech to highlight the progress we've made and then to introduce you to our strategy relating to the R344 704 million we received from this provincial government for the next financial year.

In 2004 the SMS echelon of the department comprised of 80 percent white males, with other groups either under or not represented at all and with only 10 percent female representation. I committed myself to changing this.

Today the SMS echelon consists of four Coloured females of which one is the Head of the Department, one white female and one African female, who is a product of our own Departmental Affirmative Action Programme, the Young Professionals Programme. The rest of the team is made up of three African males and two white males.

Since 2004 we appointed more than 300 interns and allocated more than 100 bursaries to employees in various areas ranging from undergraduate degrees and diplomas to PhDs;

Learnership training was afforded to 17 employees while 30 employees received Adult-Based Education and Training (ABET) training. More than 40 employees received assistance to complete grade 10 and 12; and 21 bursaries have been awarded to external bursars in engineering, veterinary science, agricultural economics and biodiversity.

Environmental sustainability is high on my list of priorities. When sustainability comes to mind, climate change follows short on its heels. Will Killmann, chairman of Food and Agriculture organisation's (FAO) working group on climate change, recently said: "climate change will affect food security in all its dimensions - food availability, food accessibility, food stability and food utilisation." Agriculture and our ability to produce food are particularly vulnerable.

Our projects in this field will focus on water management i.e. exploring alternative water resource management initiatives and on conserving agricultural water. It is also crucial to gain as much information as possible through forecasting and then interpret these results in terms of future farming practices.

Gekoppel hieraan is die departement tans besig met die ondersoek van alternatiewe landboupraktyke en markte vir die Weskus deur 'n inheemse saadproduksie-eenheid daar te stel wat veldvestiging en -verbetering teweeg sal bring om toekomstige veeboerdery volhoubaar te help maak.

As deel van ons soeke na volhoubare alternatiewe vir die provinsie, kyk ons na heuningbostee. Hierdie unieke hulpbron groei slegs in selektiewe areas wat ongelukkig nog nie gekarteer is nie. Ook die verbouing van rooibostee deur bewaringsboerderypraktyke (bv. minimum of geen bewerking en wisselbou) sal vir die volgende twee jaar intensiewe aandag geniet.

Die Programme Volhoubare Hulpbronbestuur fokus uitsluitlik op die volhoubare bestuur van ons natuurlike hulpbronne en hiervoor spandeer ons vanjaar meer as R45 miljoen. Hierdie is een van die areas waar 'n ernstige tekort aan fondse en veral mannekrag ons kniehalter. Die vraag na ingenieursondersteuning in terme van waterbestuur, meganisasiebeplanning, die bestuur en beheer van afvalstowwe en waardetoevoeging op die plaas het eksponensieel toegeneem. Hierdie mense-tekort word tans op 'n innoverende wyse aangespreek deur projekte te prioritiseer en produktiwiteit te verhoog, deur van internskappe gebruik te maak en beurse beskikbaar te stel. Ons is ook druk besig om die verskeidenheid loopbane op hierdie gebied onder skoolgaande jeug te bemark.

Een van die hoogtepunte van hierdie programme vir die laaste paar jaar (en wat steeds aandag geniet) is die fokus op waterbesparing. Ek het voorheen genoem dat landbou verantwoordelik is vir die gebruik van sowat 50 persent van die totale water beskikbaar in die provinsie. Om hierdie rede beskou ons ons aandeel in die besparing daarvan in 'n baie ernstige lig. Een van ons besonder suksesvolle en insiggewende projekte het ses jaar gelede begin met die doel om die doeltreffendheid van watergebruik van wingerd- en vrugteboere in De Doorns, Worcester, Franschhoek en Paarl te verbeter. Die projek het reeds waardevolle resultate opgelewer: 'n verbetering in watergebruiksdoeltreffendheid van tussen 14 persent en 28 persent is aangeteken!

Hierdie programme het sedert 2004 R15 036 miljoen aan 20 projekte bestee, veral rondom watervoorsiening en besproeings- infrastruktuur, wat in baie gevalle aan mense water gebring het wat nooit voorheen toegang tot water gehad het nie. Van hierdie projekte is:

* Koekedouw Beginnersboere Besproeiingsprojek: Besproeingsinfrastruktuur vir 67,79 ha grond teen 'n koste van R1,25 miljoen is aan beginner boere in die Ceres distrk voorsien.

* In Matjiesrivier near Oudtshoorn, two earth canals were replaced with pipelines and water tanks provided to 12 households. Two further earth canals were completed, replaced by pipe lines for 6,7 km, a small balancing reservoir was constructed, water tanks provided to 15 households, irrigation equipment supplied for 20 ha and 50 ha of land prepared and planted with lucerne providing 155 beneficiaries on 29 farms with access to clean drinking water at their houses. Total cost of the project was R5, 5 million.

* The Zoar water study resulted in the cleaning of the storage dam together with irrigation equipment and installation of a 300 m pipe line. The project was completed with the replacement of earth canals with pipelines, drilling of three boreholes and upgrading of the storage capacity for water. Solar pumps were provided for animal watering and lands were cleared from alien invasive trees. Today 1 210 people at Zoar enjoy the benefits of the R1,41 million spent on this project.

* The 49 Bongolethu farmers near Oudtshoorn benefited from the repair and enlargement of an irrigation storage dam and the further upgrading and supply of irrigation equipment at a cost of R848 000.

* The Kobeeberg project near Vanrhynsdorp is now supplying water for domestic and animal use to nine farms though a borehole, pumps, storage tanks and an 18 km pipeline. 200 beneficiaries now have drinking water for the first time. Total cost of project was R2,4 million of which R 600 000 was contributed by National Department of Agriculture.

Other projects were:
* Wupperthal water supply, costing R283 000,
* Witwater Boreholes near Clanwilliam: R60 000
* Zwartberg Groentetuin near Prins Albert: The local school assisted: R830 000 was spent on this project.
* The planning and installation of tea grading equipment at the Wupperthal Tea Grading Facility; adds value to product and reduce transport costs, thus improving financial viability for workers from community employed by the facility, as well as the small-scale farmers that produce rooibos tea.
* Matzikama Food Security projects near Vredendal R203 000.
* Damon Fortuin project at Haarlem: Equipment for 1,25 ha of drip irrigation to this two emerging farmers was provided at a cost of R250 000.
* R286 000 completed the next phase of the Wupperthal project where earth canals were replaced by pipelines and a borehole drilled and equipped.
* Kliprivier project near Wolseley: R500 000.
* Thyssens Brothers near Haarlem: Upgrading of irrigation equipment and water storage facilities and the construction of three new reservoirs. 13 Beneficiaries of this project. R400 000 will be spent.
* Ladysmith Herschel: Food garden project to generate funds for the school. Drip irrigation equipment was provided for the vegetables and olive tree orchard of the project as well as a small reservoir. 350 learners were trained to save water and to use it efficiently. Total cost of project R198 000.
* Various smaller pieces of equipment and infrastructure were supplied to a number of small-scale farmers at a cost of R546 000.

This Programme received four Impumelelo Awards:
* Calitzdorp River protection works.
* Ebenhaezer dam and related works project in the West Coast.
* Junior LandCare - water project in the Central Karoo.
* Kleinrivier Environmental and Employment project (KEEP) in the Overberg

Ek het onlangs die volgende aanhaling gelees: "In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand." Die onontbeerlike bewaringsboodskap van die LandCare filosofie en lewenswyse is oor die afgelope vier jaar met byna 33 000 jongmense tydens kampe en deur middel van poppekasvertonings gedeel.

'n Ander prioriteit van LandCare is om natuurlike hulpbronbestuur aan te spreek deur middel van projekte wat fokus op armoedeverligting, kapasiteitsbou en voedselsekuriteit. Die laaste vier jaar het die departement byna 99 000 persoonsdae se werk vir werklose mense (en veral vroue en die jeug) geskep deur hulle onder andere in te span vir die uitwissing van indringerplante. Vanjaar beoog ons om 25 000 persoonsdae se werk te skep. Hieruit is dit duidelik dat landbou nooit net te make het met produkte of die natuur nie, maar dat die welstand van die mens sentraal staan in ons strategie en aanwending van die begroting. Dit is dan ook net reg dat hierdie belangrike konsep R3,42 miljoen van vanjaar se begroting ontvang.

Die hoë voorkoms van natuurlike rampe soos vloede en droogtes plaas die werkmag van die departement verder onder druk. Dink maar aan die 2006 Eden en Klein Karoo vloede, die Haarlem hael-ramp en die Sentraal Karoo droogte - hierdie gebeurtenisse verg dat alle beskikbare mannekrag van ander projekte weggeneem word om die ramp-hulpskema's te implementeer. Sedert 2004 het hierdie departement sowat R59,1 miljoen uitbetaal ten bate van ramphulp. Ten opsigte van: droogtehulp - R44,1 miljoen, die Eden vloed R10 miljoen, Haarlem haelskade R5 miljoen. Volgende jaar sal R23 miljoen vir die Eden vloed uitbetaal word en oor die volgende twee jaar sal 'n verdere R4,2 miljoen vir die Haarlem haelskade uitbetaal word. Dit bring die totaal ten opsigte van rampe op R86,8 miljoen te staan.

Another and totally different crisis scenario which also demands immediate attention of the majority of staff is of course the outbreak of animal related diseases. And might I just remind you that the benefits of having a highly competent and alert veterinary team in the province are the following:

* Better animal productivity leads to improved food security.
* Improved public health by minimising the incidence of diseases transmissible from animals to man.
* Increased income for our farmers as well as for the province through the exports of animals and animal products. It definitely justifies spending close to R40 million on veterinary services.

Food safety and food security is inseparably linked. We have a well-established system of meat safety control in the province. During 2005/06 we extended the activities of this programme to the poorer communities where poor access to safe meat in still a reality. We are currently investigating the possibility to construct a dual-purpose abattoir for red meat and poultry in Khayelitsha. This abattoir will not only assist in the supply of much needed safe meat to the community but will also provide the emerging farmers with access to secondary processing facilities, providing access to the full marketing chain.

But let me give you a concrete idea of the work we do in the poor communities: from 2004 to this year our veterinary personnel have treated almost 41 500 animals in disadvantaged communities.

Almost 300 carthorses belonging to vendors and scrap collectors in the Cape Flats were micro chipped to aid in the positive identification of the animals. The horses were simultaneously vaccinated against Equine Influenza.

The period was also characterised by the detection and control or eradication of various serious trade-sensitive animal disease outbreaks, including African horse sickness and the devastating Avian Influenza in ostriches. The ostrich industry was severely disrupted and curbing the spread of the disease necessitated the destruction of more than 7 000 ostriches, many of them breeder birds. The overall effect was a severe restriction on the export of ostrich meat and great expense to maintain the surveillance required. The situation persisted well into 2007 and resulted in major financial losses to the industry.

Ek kan ook nie die belangrikheid van 'n wêreldklas veterinêre laboratorium oorbeklemtoon vir die lewering van diagnostiese en voedselveiligheidmoniterings-dienste nie. Ons het dus die laboratorium in 2006 uitgebrei om plek te maak vir nuwe toonaangewende residu moniteringsprosedure en 'n veterinêre tegnoloog is onlangs aangestel om die spesifieke toetse te doen.

Daar was in die verlede reeds vele gesprekke oor die belangrikheid van navorsing en dan ook spesifiek landbounavorsing. Navorsing is nie bloot 'n nuuskierigheid na nuwe dinge nie - vir die Wes-Kaap is dit van kardinale belang. Navorsing stel boere in staat om mee te ding in die ekonomie (globaal of plaaslik) en om die talle produksie- en bemarkingsbeperkinge te oorkom. Die departement se drie navorsingsinstitute is behoefte-gedrewe en werk nou saam met leiers in die onderskeie landboubedrywe om probleme aan te spreek en oplossings te vind deur middel van sowat 200 verskillende projekte. Ons sewe navorsingsplase dien as buitelug laboratoriums waar kliënte uit die nabye omgewing eerstehands betrokke kan raak by die navorsingsproses.

We have an obligation to our commercial farmers and to this extent projects on forecasting, production practises and crop development include:
1. research on sustainable crop rotation and alternative farming systems,
2. evaluation and introduction of new crops,
3. on-farm value adding/product differentiation,
4. promotion of conservation farming,
5. investigate establishment of a unit for research on game farming,
6. the use of existing satellite information to a) plan farming operations, b) in climate forecasts, c) crop predictions
7. development of a model to determine veld condition and grazing capacity for game, large stock and small stock,
8. various projects on veld assessment and management - stock keeping and drought conditions,
9. establishment of a seed production unit for indigenous arid plants,
10. compiling a database from results of soil and water analytical surveys - indicating sensitive and/or problematic agricultural areas,
11. analysis of monthly climatic and agricultural conditions - Agri-Outlook on website,
12. various GIS projects (i.e. Using remote sensing products to assist in drought monitoring),
13. development of prototype equipment and implements for the production of rooibos tea under conservation farming practises,
14. enterprise viability related to geographical areas (Southern Cape and Swartland). In collaboration with GIS unit - various scenarios surrounding the effect of climate change on the agricultural sector in WC.

By ons volstruis 'centre of excellence' ondersteun ons 'n bedryf wat werk verskaf aan meer as 20 000 mense en terselfdertyd valuta genereer vir Suid-Afrika via die uitvoer van die verskillende volstruisprodukte. Een van die rigtings wat ons tans ondersoek is die moontlikheid van kunsmatige inseminasie vir volstruise. Indien suksesvol, kan hierdie metode grootskaalse finansiële voordele vir produsente inhou. 'n Ander fokus is op die voeding van die diere. Hou in gedagte dat die koste van voer tot 70 tot 80 persent van die totale koste van 'n volstruisproduksie-eenheid opmaak. 'n Besparing van 10 persent in hierdie koste kan die bedryf tot R55 miljoen bespaar.

Een van die beste voorbeelde van die sukses van samewerking is te sien in die totstandkoming van die Phillipi mark, die groentenavorsingsprojek en die verkryging van marktoegang vir verskeie opkomende boere in die Phillipi-omgewing. Die departement, 'n godsdienstige groep, 'n opleidingsinstansie (Agri Academy) en 'n kommersiële boer het hande gevat - die gevolg: 'n plaas van 2,8 ha is nou die middelpunt van groentenavorsing en demonstrasies en dien as 'n model vir omliggende boere. Die plaas spog ook met 'n meganisasiesentrum waar boere toerusting kan "leen". Hierdie jaar sal 30 opkomende boere weer marktoegangopleiding ontvang.

In this way we are really pushing back the frontiers of poverty bit by bit while making a significant difference to many people who are worst affected by the rising food prices and other everyday challenges. However, I must at this stage admit that the just more than R54 million allocated to this programme falls short when the urgency of issues such as climate change and widespread poverty and hunger are considered.

Through our Young Professionals Programme for previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs), 22 candidates has successfully completed the programme and has taken up positions either in our own department or at the national department or in other provinces as well as with private institutions. These candidates are sought after.

The success of this programme is emphasised by the fact that the newly appointed programme manager of agricultural economics, Bongiswa Matoti, came through the Young Professionals Programme (YPP) programme and we are extremely proud of this.

A spatially enabled database of all approved LRAD projects contains information on the farms, as well as social, enterprise and training details. This enables the department to work holistically and concentrate efforts effectively.

21 Emerging farmers were linked to domestic markets and 20 linked to international markets in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom (UK) and Germany. This year another 25 emerging farmers will be linked to domestic markets and for 10, export contracts will be facilitated.

An Agricultural and Agribusiness Strategy was drafted for the Western Cape which focuses on eight themes, including land reform and Agri-Black Economic Empowerment (AgriBEE), human resource development, and food safety and security. This involves the four partners (government, business, labour and civil society). This is one strategy that has not only remained on paper - in other words, it is indeed worth more than the paper it was written on!

R30,8 miljoen gaan vanjaar na gestruktureerde landbou-opleiding wat myns insiens nie genoeg is nie. John F Kennedy het by geleentheid gesê dat 'n land se ware vooruitgang slegs so vinnig kan wees as die vooruitgang in sy opleiding. Dit geld vir die landbou ook. Hierdie programme binne die Departement lewer 'n onontbeerlike bydrae tot die ontwikkeling en implementering van die Mensekapitaal Ontwikkelingstrategie vir landbou in die Wes-Kaap, met 'n baie sterk fokus op die ontwikkeling van skaars en krities-belangrike vaardighede binne die sektor.

The Thuthukile Skweyiya Western Cape-Burgundy Wine Exchange Programme was entered into, by the Regional Council of Burgundy and the Province of the Western Cape. The Co-operation agreement aims at fostering academic and economic ties between both regions, with a specific focus on the exchange of learners and teachers at training centres, the implementation of joint professional training, the exchange of high school pupils and students and the exchange between researchers, laboratories and universities.

The exchange programme is a life-changing experience for farm workers who are empowered in this way. It bolsters the professional ambitions of the beneficiaries.

At present, 70 wine farm and cellar workers have obtained diplomas in winemaking. In exchange 16 French students from Centre for Professional Training and Agricultural Development (CFPPA) were trained at Elsenburg: Cape Institute for Agricultural Training (CIAT). The programme also provided training for six South African farm and cellar workers in sommelerie (wine service), and six were trained in barrel assembly (barrel making) and barrel management.

Eight emerging farmers received training in project management, and 12 farm workers obtained diplomas through professional training to become cheese makers.

Many of these farm workers have already excelled to produce champion wines and cheeses. I am humbled by the gratitude shown by one of the students for the opportunity she was afforded, by making a new cheese and naming it after the MEC for Agriculture. You will find your Dowry cheese in your basket of agricultural products.

Vanjaar word die internskap- en leerlingskapprogramme aansienlik uitgebrei om 200 persone te baat, sowel as 'n langverwagte agri-mentorskapprogramme. Ons konsentreer ook op spesiale opleidingsprogramme vir die provinsie se plaaswerkers, en die stigting van 'n subprogramme spesiaal vir hierdie groep, was gewis vir my 'n hoogtepunt. So beoog ons om vanjaar 300 werklose of afgesette plaaswerkers nuwe vaardighede aan te leer wat hulle die vermoë sal gee om weer tot die werkplek toe te tree.

Four hundred and twenty two students were registered at the beginning of the year - 37 percent from previously disadvantaged communities. This is a feat in itself as our aim to promote accessibility, equity, equality and representivity is hereby fulfilled. Due to the increase of students with little financial means we had to increase our bursaries and to make up for the lack of sufficient science and maths background of these students, summer and winter schools are planned.

The Comprehensive Agricultural Support (CASP) Programme was rolled out successfully and the business plan for 2005/06 CASP projects was completed within specifications. A basic selection model was designed to assist with the management of demand (R155 million) versus the availability of funds R17 million. Due to budgetary constraints the target of 2 000 beneficiaries was not reached, but it created an opportunity for the Provincial Department of Agriculture (PDA) and the Department of Land Affairs (DLA) to create an alternative system of implementation, namely a project team approach.

The key deliverable for 2007/08 related to the expansion of food security projects by 20 percent. The Provincial World Food Day celebrations was held in Murraysburg on Friday, 12 October 2007 with great success, heightening public awareness of the world food problem and to strengthen solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. A total of 41 households were presented with starter packs in the form of 25 chickens to each household in order to enhance their ability and enable them to meet their dietary requirements.

Given that the predominant need for the development of an equitable and diverse agricultural sector that has been identified, 80 percent of the budget will be utilised to build the capacity of historically disadvantaged communities and individuals. I can report with gratitude that over the past four years 7 410 people have benefited from our land reform process and 141 599 hectares of land were peacefully transferred. Food security projects (in other words assisting people with the establishment of food gardens) are the other focal point of this programme. To date 166 projects received assistance by means of CASP, involving 5 391 individuals who have received support in terms of training and infrastructure. To date 182 food gardens were established and in several instances the owners of these gardens have succeeded in supplying not only their households but in selling some of their produce to local shops as a means of earning an income - often the only income.

The new sub-programme: Farm Worker Development was established in August 2004. A Farm Worker Indaba was hosted and followed by five regional conferences in November and December 2004. These workshops eventually lead to the development of a strategic plan for farm workers in the province that was approved by Cabinet during December 2005.

The Farm Worker Co-ordination Council was established to assist farm workers with capacity building and skills development. The purpose of this forum is to create a platform for the industry stakeholders to discuss and resolve their issues relating to farm workers. Various training programmes pertaining to alcohol abuse, life skills and Labour issues were successfully completed and will continue along with a resilient drive to make more information available to farm workers.

The department is committed to drive the efforts to rid the agricultural sector of the terrible scourge of substance abuse, especially alcohol abuse, within the farm worker community.

A good illustrative indicator of alcohol abuse amongst farm workers, is the prevalence of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) among children in some high-risk rural communities. A 2001 study found that second only to the Northern Cape, the Western Cape has the highest reported incidence of FAS in the world with up to 68 per 1 000 first graders showing symptoms of FAS. This contrasts sharply with the USA FAS rate of 0,8 to one percent.

During May 2007 the department convened a historical multi-stakeholder conference entitled Conference on misuse of alcohol amongst farm workers in the Western Cape as a basis for the development of its Mini-Drug Master Plan. The conference was attended by all key stakeholders in the sector including: farm workers organisations, producers, researchers and government departments. This resulted in the formation of a co-ordinating structure, mandated to drive the development of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture's Mini-Drug Master Plan.

Today I am pleased to announce that this Plan has been completed and we look forward to the implementation of the plan.

Skills Training

The Western Cape Province is experiencing high numbers of farm worker evictions as the past few years have been characterized by a decrease in the economic growth and employment creation of the agricultural sector in the Province. At the same time, it is a known fact that the Western Cape economy is in need of higher skills levels. This is also true for the agricultural sector.

One of the department's key deliverables is to create a project to start the process of re-skilling unemployed and evicted farm workers which is in line with the iKapa Elihlumayo strategy, which emphasise the stimulation of socio-economic activities by reducing disparities, raising skills levels, increasing per capita income and wage employment and broadening the economic base in the Western Cape.

It is also necessary for the department of Agriculture to take greater ownership of the development strategies relevant to the sector. In order to do so it is imperative that it should be based on participation and inclusion and therefore strategic partnerships and coordination among stakeholders should be increased.

In order to address the plight of the farm workers, a conscious and deliberate attempt was made to improve partnerships by utilising exiting structures and best practices to implement projects of this nature. in order to:
* improve the productivity and employability of farm workers, especially evicted farm workers,
* train the unemployed, redundant workers and/or seasonal workers with a great focus on up-skilling workers - especially the youth and women,
* ensure that the quality and relevance of the training can be maintained,
* change the image and perception of farm workers and to build their pride and dignity.

We finalised a partnership agreement with Graham Beck Wines relating to the Graham and Rhona Beck Skills Centre that is being built in the Breede River Winelands Municipal area at a cost of R18 million.

Funds to the amount of R450 000 has been allocated to this project for the 2008/09 financial year.

The Sub-Programme: Farm Worker Development funded 17 projects for farm workers at a total cost of R2,9 million. The focus of these projects are mainly on training and skill development presented by NGOs including: Women on Farms, FASfacts, Water Wise, Rudnet, Cape Women's Forum and Christian Lecture Fund, just to mention a few.

According to the Statistics of the World Bank, the world success rate for the establishing of new or emerging farmers is 19,9 percent. We are grateful for the fact that the success rate for the establishment of emerging farmers in the Western Cape is 54,4 percent according to an independent survey that was done recently.

Nothing brings home the very real impact our Farmer Support and Development programme and the R96,1 million that will be spent this year like when you meet the actual people who benefited from our aid. Let me highlight a few:

Olympia (Eden)
Olympia school is a skills development school for pupils with learning disabilities (50 girls and 180 boys). The school has 56 ha of agricultural land available and utilises 1ha for vegetable production for own consumption.

We have implemented a six-camp grazing system with a stock watering system and supplied them with stock handling facilities. The cost of the project amounted to R200 000. The school then managed to increase their herd from seven cows to 32.

The University of Fort Hare donated 12 pregnant Nguni cows and three bulls to the Olympia School in November 2006.

Fourteen calves have been born after the first round of mating with the Nguni Bulls. One young bull from the first calving at Olympia is almost ready and has been given to the Friemersheim community.

Hoekskuil (Central Karoo)

Hoekskuil, a 2 000 ha Karoo farm, was acquired through LRAD in November 2004. Five families, consisting of 17 individuals, benefited from this land reform transaction, which included some 220 Angora goats. This project is served by the Department of Agriculture and CASP in terms of the upgrading of the farm's infrastructure (fencing, stock watering system etc). The farm further received general farm tools to sustain the farm infrastructure. The project is already marketing mohair to the amount of R60 000 per annum.

A core herd of 100 Dorper ewes was additionally established on the farm during
2005.

Vuyani Trust (Central Karoo)

The project was implemented in 2004 with 10 trustees of whom four are women and three are youth. The farm near Nelspoort is situated on 6 449 hectares of land. The farming activities are focused on large and small stock production, broilers and layers.

The department provided assistance the form of fencing, the purchasing of a new tractor, trailer, implements and a bakkie, the provision of various training courses to the beneficiaries, the renovation of the red meat abattoir and the building of a new white meat abattoir and poultry house.

The original 280 breeding ewes have now increased to a total of 800.

Ebenhaezer Seed Production Project (West Coast)

In the rural area of Ebenhaezer, resource-constrained farmers have been farming for more than fifty years. Farmers farm on 1,8 ha plots that are irrigated from the Olifants River irrigation scheme.

In general, enough water is available for crop production on the 1,8 ha plots. Adjacent to Ebenhaezer are many commercial irrigation farms with an average size of about 24 ha.

The Ebenhaezer Seed Production Project is a three-year project with the main aim of aiding farmers to enter commercial production and creating successful small businesses.

In the three years since the initiation of the project the department has spent close to R336 000. For the 2007 season the three farmers earned a turnover in excess of R280 000. It is hoped that the success of the farmers will act as a catalyst and a source of motivation for other producers in Ebenhaezer.

Some of the other success stories are:
* Trevor's Farming CC (Cape Winelands),
* Nooitgedacht Farmers Trust (Cape Metropole),
* Chamomile Enterprises - Wadea Jappie (Cape Metropole),
* Olympia (Eden),
* Zwelihle Organic Farm (Overberg),
* Haarlem Project (Eden),
* Elim Dairy Project (Overberg),
* Hoekskuil (Central Karoo),
* Vuyani Trust (Central Karoo),
* Ebenhaezer Seed Production Project (West Coast),
* Vuki Trust and,
* Bouwland.

Allow me to mention one last important issue - our contribution to New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). Nepad is an exciting vision in the sense that it is the first time that an initiative is born from Africa for Africa. Good reason exists to argue that agricultural development should form one of the cornerstones of the development of Africa and that South Africa should play the role of catalyst in this regard. My department has taken leadership with regards to our responsibility in Africa and I can highlight three examples of where we are making a contribution: we've been instrumental in assisting Mozambique to put their Foot and Mouth surveillance zone in place. We're assisting 34 farmers from Beira to increase milk production and we will be contributing towards the establishment of a Kenyan cheese festival. Remember that the well-being of our neighbours is definitely to our advantage.

Maybe because I'm a farmer myself, I've come to believe that agriculture is the noblest of trades. Benjamin Franklin once said that there seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbours. This is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favour, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry.

This department will continue to support those who work the land and those with a dream with its roots in agriculture.

Speaker, ten slotte wil ek my dank uitspreek teenoor:
* My Skepper, die bron van my krag en gesondheid
* Die Premier en my kollegas in die Kabinet,
* Me Zodwa Magwaza voorsitter van die portefeuljekomitee en al die lede,
* Ons sektor vennote,
* Georganiseerde Landbou (National African Farmers Union (Nafu), Agri Wes-Kaap en West Coast Ubuntu Farmer's Association (wekufu)),
* Die produsente van ons provinsie wat onder uiters moeilike omstandighede Landbou 'n ongekwalifiseerde sukses maak in die provinsie,
* Die Hoof van die Departement, Joyene Isaacs en die amptenare van die departement,
* My kantoorpersoneel, en
* Laaste maar nie die minste nie my vrou en familie vir hulle opoffering dikwels in eensaamheid. Dankie vir julle ondersteuning.

Issued by: Western Cape Provincial Government
23 May 2008


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