Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries: Minister's Budget Speech


16 Jun 2009


Budget Vote 23
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Delivered by Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

“Working together, we can do more”

Honourable Speaker
Deputy Minister of the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, Dr Pieter Mulder

Chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Mr Lulu Johnson
Members of Parliament
Members of Executive Councils from the Provinces responsible for Agriculture
Heads of Department
Government officials
Distinguished guests
Colleagues and Friends
Ladies and Gentlemen

Honourable Members

I am both honoured and humbled to be part of a developmental State that is committed to working with its people to do more and create a better life. South Africans will find that this Government is not only caring and hard working, but also has concrete implementation plans for the work we have been tasked with by the electorate.

We are starting our term at a time when the world is in recession. Our country has already begun to feel the pinch of the forecasted contraction of the economy by between -0.7% and -5.2%. Our primary concern is over job losses during this period and the challenge of creating sustainable jobs.
Last month, the economist Mike Schussler remarked that it might be the first time since the 1800s that the agricultural sector is bigger than the mining sector. It is argued that it is more likely that the agricultural sector will create more jobs out of every R1 million of investment than any other sector.

Other sectors have already suffered huge job losses. It is now becoming the task of agriculture, forestry and fisheries to create jobs, and contribute to poverty alleviation.

 As much as agriculture is seemingly better-off in the global economic crisis it is by no means shielded from its effects. For the first time in five years agricultural imports have exceed exports. This is not only unacceptable but further vindicates our resolve to support local food production in communities, by communities for communities.

Honourable Members, the components of Forestry and Fisheries will be smoothly integrated into the new Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. In this regard, we have embarked on processes to re-align the structures, budgets, human resources, programmes, activities and delivery channels.

The ruling party’s Election Manifesto points out that: “Rural development and agrarian reform is integral to the struggle to create a better life for all. … (Because it is in these areas) where the majority of our people … continue to live in conditions of degradation and poverty. This must change”.
President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address correctly accounts for the status quo as it obtains to these rural areas, because it is true that: “Unemployment in rural areas is disproportionately high …”. The rural masses represent the majority of this Department’s stakeholders. We have arrived at a point where we must listen to their voices.

These pronouncements go further than merely saying we must change their conditions of abject poverty and degradation. They task all of us in Government to translate these policy statements into practical programmes that are written up in measurable business plans. That is why we are proud to announce the Programme that gives strategic expression to this, namely the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme.

It must become an implementable programme. It must be aimed at eradicating unemployment, poverty, hunger and divisions in measurable terms. We have promised, and are now implementing, a Comprehensive Rural Development Programme.

The vision of the CRDP is about enabling rural people to play a meaningful role in an inclusive economy, thereby dealing effectively with rural poverty through productive use and management of natural resources at their disposal. To do this we adopted a three-pronged strategy of Agrarian Transformation; Rural Development; and Land Reform.

Our Department will lead the Agrarian Transformation programme of the CRDP, which will be driven by the Provincial Departments of Agriculture and local authorities will manage projects. We have already started to introduce pilot projects in Giyani in Limpopo and Riemvasmaak in the Northern Cape, which have been selected on the basis of the levels of poverty, state of readiness and the level of participation by communities.

The lessons that will be drawn from these pilots will inform the design and implementation in other identified areas.

Honourable Speaker

We will ensure that we increase production and massify the results of the commodity strategies on livestock, grain, fruit and cotton. In these areas we are providing leadership and support in the establishment of viable livestock and crop enterprises with market linkages and specific job targets.

We will also be addressing food production at household level by providing training to household members to establish vegetable-tunnels for household food production. More importantly we will be aggressively providing market linkages for the emerging farmers and further provide marketing infrastructure and agro-processing facilities for these rural communities.

The Agricultural Research Council and other state-owned enterprises will provide technical assistance to the pilot projects. It will also initiate research projects aimed at adapting technologies to rural areas to promote sustainability and profitability of existing enterprises.

We will encourage investors and Development Finance Institutions like the National Development Agency, the Industrial Development Corporation, the Independent Development Trust, the Development Bank of South Africa and the Land Bank to fund some of these initiatives.

Ons glo dat ons, deur die Allesomvattende Plattelandse Ontwikkelingsplan, ‘n soliede fondasie gebou het vir betekenisvolle verandering in die landbou sektor. Ons sal, tesame met hierdie gemeenskappe, ‘n volledige besigheidsmodel ontwikkel wat mense sal inspireer om of op die platteland te bly of terug te trek na die voedsel produserende gebiede.

Hierdie program sal die voordele van grootskaalse ekonomiese en sosiale infrastruktuur ontwikkeling egalig oor die Suid Afrikaanse hinterland versprei.

Die mees pertinente punt hier, Agbare Lede, is dat ons geen program of projek gaan aanpak sonder om dit deeglik na te vors en te verpak in ‘n haalbare besigheidsplan nie. En selfs meer belangrik, ons gaan geen beplanning doen rondom die ontwikkeling van die platteland sonder die mense van die platteland nie.
Hierdie regering is geskoei op die wil van die mense.

That is why we will emphasise the axiom of nothing about our people, without our people.

Honourable Members

We will broaden and strengthen our partnerships with organised agriculture, and those components that still need to be organised, including subsistence and new farmers as well as cooperatives in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

The latter includes 450 cooperatives ranging from producer input supply, live-stock and commodity groups. We will increase this number by one hundred, based on a needs analysis, by the end of the financial year. There are also 400 self-help groups that are based on savings mobilisation for the purpose of enterprise development.

We have allocated R150 million for this financial year for expanding the Mafisa scheme. We have already accredited 10 financial institutions ranging from agricultural companies, development financial institutions, and rural financial cooperatives to on-lend Mafisa funds to end users.

Mafisa has committed a total of R545 million to financial intermediaries for funding to emerging and new farmers.

The Khula­-Mafisa initiative has managed to leverage R116 million from commercial banks to provide funding to those emerging farmers who are able to repay loans but may not necessarily have sufficient collateral.

We will increase accredited outlets to two per province for increased access to finance.

This Government remains committed to the strengthening of its support to commercial agriculture, because it has a critical role to play in economic growth, job creation, food security and the transformation of the industry.

Together we will accelerate land reform, increase the number of black entrepreneurs in agri-business, raise agricultural production, promote trade and provide access to support services to target groups.

Honourable Speaker,

his Department will redouble its efforts to give practical expression to its constitutional mandate of food security by creating an environment in which adequate food is available for all. An environment in which hunger no longer thrives. And an environment in which mal-nutrition is eradicated. 

We will review the existing food security programmes to take into consideration other interventions that are based on social development and welfare, education and health programmes. We must produce good, nutritious food where people live. We must do this in a sustainable and cost-effective way.

We will, through working with rural communities, develop programmes that are based on sound agro-ecology principles so that we leave to those who may come after us, soil that remains full of nutrients and the capacity to produce good food.

Our food security programmes will, over time, evolve to bear the fruits of food sovereignty, where people are able to grow food in a sustainable and self-sufficient way.

Ons moet die logika volg dat goeie gesonde kos net uit goeie gesonde landbou grond kan groei.

Honourable Speaker

Through both internal and external training programmes, we will increase targeted training, research and extension support for the sector. During this financial year, we will train 2 000 land reform beneficiaries as well as conduct and publish research documents to assist especially the emerging sector with vital production information.
In total, we will train 1 000 extension officers and recruit another 1 000 over the MTEF period, which means 1 000 sustainable and decent jobs for extension officers. 


As part of the agrarian transformation drive we will consolidate the offerings of all the national funding schemes, including Agri-BEE, Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme, Ilima/Letsema and Land Care, into a single national facility, a virtual "one-stop shop", for the funding of projects and rural businesses. This is an important part of the alignment of agricultural support services under the Department linked to land reform processes.

The current allocation for the CASP is R715 million, for Illima/Letsema it is R50 million, for Agri-BEE it is R100 million and for Land Care it is R48 million. The total allocation for development support through the new funding facility is almost one billion Rand.

The CASP will be funded to the tune of R2.5 billion over the medium term expenditure framework period. This support to new and emerging farmers will be both targeted and comprehensive.

This will support our efforts to promote massive production of food, feed and fibre; to create decent jobs and generate sustainable incomes; and to create a sense of shared development and dignity among especially rural women, the aged and the youth.
We have, together with industry stakeholders, launched the Agri-BEE Charter Council to monitor and report on broad-based black economic empowerment initiatives. We are committed to improve and increase the number of black commercial enterprises.

Honourable Members,

Improved agro-logistics has the potential to improve bulk agriculture cargo, improve efficiency of food movement with the cost efficiency manifesting itself in the reduced cost of food processes. We will continue to work with our colleagues to revitalise the rural railway branch lines as a measure to increase the mobility of agricultural cargo from road back to rail to complete this work in this term of government.

Furthermore, we will facilitate the establishment of agricultural marketing infrastructure for land and agrarian reform beneficiaries and improve the efficiency of agricultural logistics for all commodity value chains. This will include systematic efforts in irrigation projects such as Mokolo River augmentation, the Vaalharts/Taung and Makathini irrigation schemes.

Honourable Speaker,

Today, young people are faced with different, but equally difficult challenges they faced in 1976. They face a lack of opportunities, disease, hunger, and a shortage of skills.
Today our response must be to do more than merely absorb raw data like the Labour Force Survey of Statistics South Africa, which indicates that more than thirty three per cent of youth are unemployed.

Today it is time for us to say this number is too high. That, in the words of President Jacob Zuma when he said that, “… we shall not rest, and we dare not falter …” in our bid to bring meaningful, tangible and sustainable change to all our people, including our youth. 

Together we can, must and will do more to make the youth an integral part of a new, more inclusive economy.
We will achieve this by exposing young people to hands-on experience in the field of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries through the envisaged National Youth Service for Agriculture. This will be done by providing strong linkages with the bursary scheme, internships and mentorships linked to incubator programs. 

The department will avail more than R22 million for this initiative. About 290 young people will receive support in the form of bursaries towards scarce skills, while an additional 183 graduates will benefit from internships.

Also, about 265 young people will undergo mentorship training through incubator programmes in partnership with institutions like Perishable Products Export Control Board, the National Wool Growers Association and other participating institutions. 

In total, 938 young people will benefit through targeted skills development initiatives. We will continue to strengthen small and medium sized enterprises through partnerships with other Government Departments to ensure that agro-processing is brought closer to the production areas.

Within the next quarter, we will look into a possibility of signing an Agreement with the DTI to ensure that there is alignment of agricultural production and agro-processing cooperation.

This will include the promotion of youth entrepreneurship involvement through agro-processing grants. More than R99 million was set aside to increase agricultural production. In the next six months, both the DTI and the DAFF will identify an area of investment to develop and promote community-based production models on fruits, essential oils and agro-processing.

We will further work with our rural communities to design innovative models for the creation of sustainable economic opportunities in agro-ecology for SMMEs and cooperatives, in the context of the CRDP. We will focus on local production to replace imports so that we minimise the carbon footprint of the sector.
Honourable Members, none of us can ignore the global drive towards natural resource management and sustainable development practices that will ensure a more secure future for our children.

We will have to consider the effects of agriculture on climate change as well as the effects of climate change on agriculture. We know that agriculture is one of the many Green House Gas emitters and therefore we must begin to quantify what the situation in South Africa is.

We need to develop appropriate responses and invest in cleaner production methodologies, create green job opportunities, promote innovation and apply scientific technology in the production processes. Our Government’s Plans agree that investments in employment, economic and development opportunities must focus on industries and facilities that are designed to mitigate the effects of climate change.

We will look at the financing mechanisms specified in the Kyoto Protocol, and devise specific projects that will generate carbon finance through, for instance, the Clean Development Mechanism, as a new form of foreign direct investment.

Honourable Speaker, allow me to restate the importance of the local agricultural sector. The developed countries continue to subsidise their agriculture. Our response must be to protect ours from unfair global competition while also stimulating increased production.
And as part of our duty to protect public health, it is a priority to ensure that our animals and plants are disease free. We are also improving our inspection services at all South African border posts, in preparation for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. We have for instance increased the number of sniffer dogs and their handlers for the detection of prohibited agricultural substances.

This programme is already in full operation at the O.R. Tambo International Airport and has now been expanded to Cape Town International Air­port, and soon also at Durban International Airport.

The DAFF will manage communicable diseases, improve on production quality to ensure enhanced food safety and finalise the strategy for food safety within 2009 to ensure a Food Recall System is in place for 2010.  South Africa will provide adequate, healthy and safe food for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Within SADC, the department will continue to promote regional integration, inter-African trade, sanitary and phyto-sanitory measures, food security, humanitarian assistance, development of early warning and risk management systems. 

We are also involved in the promotion of food security and improving agricultural production to minimise the negative impact of high food prices and the global financial crisis on the poor and vulnerable, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

At the level of South-South co-operation, we are responsible for the implementation of the India, Brazil and South Africa mandate within the agricultural sector. In the Agriculture Working Group of IBSA we work to strengthen research and capacity building, particularly of veterinary services, agri-engineering, animal production and animal health, agricultural trade and poverty reduction.

There are a number of projects underway with Argentina, China, India and Thailand, strengthening our relations with these countries. We will work tirelessly to create a better South Africa, on a better continent, in a better more just world.

Honourable Members,

With the new mandate we will make a significant contribution to eradicate poverty through the Forestry Livelihoods Programme. We will focus on basic needs, saving of cash resources, and a safety-net. We know that firewood, building poles, medicinal plants, and edible fruits are all critical to the livelihoods of the rural poor.

We will develop human resources through the forestry sector skills development initiatives and promote employment through commercial forestry activities like afforestation and downstream activities. The integration of forestry programmes into the provincial and municipal development plans will assist the Million Trees Programme. Government and its partners this year aspire to exceed the 1.8 million trees they planted last year.
We will actively pursue the afforestation targets of 10 000 hectares and the implementation of the Forest Enterprise programme. The focus will remain on encouraging co-operatives, simplifying and streamlining the regulatory environment, training and extension, supporting the implementation of rural credit and offering incentives for new entrants.

Honourable Speaker

The department’s mandate was further extended to include fisheries. Declining fish stocks, increasing competition over access to shrinking resources and rapidly rising costs are major challenges that need to be managed effectively. In 2009, we will continue to promote the conservation and sustainable utilisation of our natural resources.      

We will work with all stakeholders, especially coastal communities, to ensure a more equitable dispensation in which the traditions, skills and cultures of fisher communities are retained for posterity.

Honourable Members, the Budget of R2.79 billion will be re-prioritised to ensure that the Department delivers tangible results in the CRDP.

We are neither fooled into thinking that new configuration of Government will be without growing pains, nor are we intimidated by the enormity of the tasks associated with the successes that we must and will achieve in this department.

Hierdie pad is die verkose pad. Dis ‘n wel-deurdagte pad. Wat ook al vir ons voorlê, en hoe lank die pad ook al mag wees; dit is ‘n pad wat ons aanpak met geesdrif en toegewydheid, en met die alom teenwoordige bewustheid dat ons mense hulle drome en wense aan hierdie regering toevertrou het. Hierdie breë uitleg wat ons vandag aan u voorhou, Agbare Lede, is ons manier van bevestig dat elke reis begin met die eerste tree.

Honourable Speaker, allow me to pay tribute to the former Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, the late comrade Dirk Du Toit. His tireless efforts to bring meaningful change to rural communities are well documented.

As we salute this compatriot let us honour his memory by picking up the spear he carried when he was alive. Let us carry it with the same compassion, commitment and quiet confidence.

It is with sadness that I have to announce the untimely passing away of the Deputy Director General for Corporate and Financial Services, Tommy Marais, last night. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues.
Honourable Members

Allow me to thank the former Minister of Agriculture, comrade Lulu Xingwana, as she hands over the baton.
I look forward to working with the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Honourable Pieter Mulder, as well as with the Chairpersons and Members of the various parliamentary committees. I am also looking forward to work with all the stakeholders in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors.

I would like to thank the Director General and the entire staff component of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Directors General of the Departments that are relinquishing the units of Forestry and Fisheries, the provincial departments of agriculture and the state-owned entities for their participation in work of the Department.

I hope that honourable Members will mentor, monitor and evaluate the impact of government programmes in their constituencies in every nook and cranny of our beautiful country. Your oversight will justify and vindicate the confidence of our people in this government. We will not be satisfied with anything less.

We want to reinforce the message that we have worked with the people of South Africa in crafting these exciting programmes before the elections. Now, we will work with them in implementing these programmes, so that “working together, we can do more”.
Deur saam te werk kan ons meer doen.

Baie dankie. Kea leboga. Siyabonga. Nkosi kakhulu.
I thank you.


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