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Participants at public hearings on the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land (PDAL) Bill that were conducted by the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development at Engwelezana Community Hall today, called on the committee to assist them to gain access to agricultural markets that are closed to small and emerging farmers.
The committee continues to take oral submissions on the PDAL Bill and it is currently in KwaZulu-Natal soliciting submissions on the Bill.
The residents of King Cetshwayo District Municipality expressed support for the Bill. They called for assistance to acquire land and support for emerging farmers. The committee heard from the participants who claimed that they do not get much assistance from the Department of Agriculture and Mhlathuze Local Municipality with farming equipment such as tractors and fencing for their livestock.
Representatives from tribal authorities appealed for assistance for their fishermen to obtain fishing licences as well as access to sugar cane markets and also highlighted that there was more land used by Mondi, a multinational paper and packaging company in the area resulting in less arable land available for farming.
The committee also heard from an association of emerging farmers made up of around 300 women who specialise in agricultural produce such as groundnuts and beans. They told the committee that do not get the assistance they require to acquire land and machinery. They said they do not own the land they use but lease it.
The Chairperson of the committee, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, urged the participants to make relevant and meaningful inputs on the Bill and continue to exert pressure on municipal leaders who occupy offices with authority such as mayors and speakers to assist them.
Nkosi Mandela thanked the participants who made oral submissions for their inputs and for attending the hearings. The committee will accept written submissions from all those who still wish to express their views on the Bill. Submissions can be emailed to PCALRRD@parliament.gov.za.
The committee will tomorrow, 7 September, conduct public hearings on the Bill in Pietermaritzburg, at Pietermaritzburg City Hall.
Issued by the Parliamentary Communication Services on behalf of the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Nkosi Zwelivelile Mandela