Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Minister's Budget Vote Speech


03 May 2012

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Honourable Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson gave her Budget Vote Speech on the 3 May 2012


Honourable Speaker
Chairpersons of the Portfolio Committee and the Select Committee
Honourable Deputy Minister
Members of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces
Former Agriculture Director-General, Mr Masiphula Mbongwa
Captains of industry
Winners of our national Female Entrepreneur Awards
Leaders of political organisations, unions, NGOs, community organisations and faith-based Institutions
Farmworkers, fisher folk and community forestry organisations
Students and leaders from our agricultural colleges and other training institutions
Ladies and gentlemen.

Our struggle icon and the father of our nation, Nelson Mandela, once said that: “We do not want freedom without bread, nor do we want bread without freedom. We must provide for all the fundamental rights and freedoms associated with a democratic society.” This means that we can neither divorce freedom from food, nor food from freedom. I thus implore all of us to re-commit ourselves to “working together for food security.” This is the theme of today’s budget speech. 

Our draft Food Security policy and Zero Hunger strategy promotes equity and prioritises the eradication of poverty and reduction of inequality amongst the masses of our people. We believe that the goal of a developmental state can only be reached when our people gain access to food within an economy that promotes sustainable livelihoods.

The ‘right to food’ as enshrined in our Constitution and the Freedom Charter, demands a rethinking of our past approaches to food security. We can produce enough food, but whether the poor can afford the food on the shelves largely determines South Africa’s food security status as a country. High food prices, food price volatility and food price hikes will be the greatest challenge to our nation over the next few years. This will further be exacerbated by high fuel and high energy prices. 

To curb these challenges, small holder farmers will be assisted with the provision of livestock, tractors, implements, seeds and fertilisers. One family, one vegetable garden should be the mantra of each and every family in South Africa

We will increase agro-processing investments as a means of reinvigorating specific strategic value chains such as soya beans, rooibos, beverages, fruit and vegetables, and forestry. R50 million will be allocated for the promotion of local agro-processing businesses. An equitable food security economy will improve access to markets for especially small holder farmers. It is important that we seek to increase the extent to which we export processed rather than unprocessed agricultural products. The entire value chain of Biofuels will also be a priority.

Food processing and agro-industries have provided jobs, demonstrating growth of over 25,000 agricultural jobs in the sector for the 3rd quarter of 2011. A further 6,000 agriculture related jobs were created in the 4th quarter of 2011, which is a year-on-year growth of 3%. This has brought the total employment in the sector to 630,000. 

This is definitely a reflection of confidence in our agricultural sector, since job growth should be measured within the context of a sector which has been shedding jobs since the 1970s. We must continue building on this trend through employment on commercial and smallholder farms. We are cautiously optimistic when we say that we have curbed job losses in agriculture. Our community works programmes; working for fire, working for water and working for fisheries will increase our capacity to create jobs. 

Notwithstanding the on-going legal processes around Wallmart, which government has taken in order to protect our agro-processing industries and jobs, we are also working with the company to ensure that opportunities are maximised by their entry to the market. 

To this end we will be leading a delegation of farmers to Costa Rica to learn from Wallmart's "direct-to-farm" procurement programme,which focuses on market access for smallholder farmers. South Africa’s trade of both primary and processed agricultural products have grown from R10 billion exports in 1996 to about R48 billion in 2011. Our wine exports are soaring notwithstanding the recent global economic slowdown. We are now exporting three times more wine than we did a decade ago. Exports of fish and fish products have rapidly expanded in China and Cameroon. Timber and forestry products are gaining ground in China and Indonesia. We are exporting more and more maize to Zimbabwe

Our export markets have undergone structural changes from 2001 to 2011 with new destinations in Asia, the Middle East, and North America. Exports to South Korea have increased from 2 to 3%; China from 1 to 3%; and the United Arab Emirates from 1 to 3% of our agri-food export basketry. Exports to Zimbabwe have increased from 2 to 8%, and to Mexico from 0 to 5%. Despite our success story as a country which is a net exporter of food, international trade has yet to include more black farmers in the equation. 

The Branch: Economic Development, Trade and Marketing is allocated about R200 million to support international trade, marketing, agro-processing and cooperative development. Our department is positioning itself to participate in a meaningful way in Brazil Russia India China South Africa (BRICS). The department will open offices in Russia, India, and Brazil, in addition to the one which is already operating in China.

I wish to specifically thank all the stakeholders who made it possible for us to have agriculture included in the climate change text at the Conference of the Parties (CoP17). South Africa made three proposals for inclusion into the final text, which relate to adaptation issues, mitigation actions in the sector, and a program of work under Reduction in Emissions, De-forestation and Degradation (REDD+) which considers agriculture as one of the key drivers of deforestation. 

The department has gazetted the AgriBEE Charter and the Draft Sector Codes for public comment. I would like to encourage all South Africans to make their inputs to the AgriBEE process by the 26th of May 2012. The restructuring of the former Branch of Marine and Coastal Management (MCM) corresponds with international trends which recognise fisheries as an economic activity rather than a purely environmental or biodiversity matter. Government has also expanded the mandate for fisheries management through the inclusion of fresh water and inland fisheries, as well as aquaculture, to our existing responsibilities.

We will gradually establish offices of the Fisheries branch in other coastal and inland provinces. These are economic decisions which contribute to employment creation and poverty alleviation. The Small Scale Fisheries Policy will be finalised and implemented this year. The policy seeks to address imbalances of the past, and ensure that small scale fishers are accommodated and properly managed.  For the first time fishing rights will be allocated on a group rather than an individual basis. 

The department has entered into a service level agreement with the South African Navy to manage our fleet of 4 patrol vessels and 3 research vessels for a period of one year, while we consider our various options regarding the long term management of these vessels. Regrettably, following extensive allegations of maladministration in the Fisheries Branch, and after extensive consultations with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the Presidency, we will be requesting the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to look into all tenders awarded by the branch, as a preparatory step to the Committee of Enquiry which I have previously announced.

This year we successfully hosted the 6th Session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Committee on Fisheries Sub-Committee on Aquaculture. This sector has shown increased production at an annual average of 11,6%. The Branch: Fisheries management will get R400,0 million this year to oversee the management of our fishing industry, including R253,0 million for the Marine Living Resources Fund.

Honourable members, the department is the custodian of South Africa’s forest resources which covers over 40 million hectares of the country’s land surface area. The forest sector employs about 201 025 workers. It provides about 77 000 direct jobs and 30 000 indirect jobs. 

It provides livelihood support to 2,3 million people in our rural areas. Downstream activities in the sector employ about 52, 400 direct and indirect jobs.  Another 11 000 workers are employed in miscellaneous jobs in the sector. The Forestry and Natural Resources Management Branch of the department will continue to support and conduct research initiatives and programmes to gain a better understanding on the processes behind climate change, vulnerability and eco-friendly agricultural practices. The Branch: Forestry and Natural Resources Management will get R1.2 billion during this financial year to manage our forests and natural resources.

Our country has been plagued by natural disasters and animal diseases. Between December 2010 and January 2011, we had devastating floods in Limpopo, Free State, North West, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape Provinces. We have begun the process of implementing the Flood Assistance Scheme, with its emphasis on infrastructure repairs. An amount of more than R990 million has been made available through the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period until 2014/15 as part of the flood assistance scheme.

Animal disease outbreaks such as Rift valley fever, Newcastle disease, avian flu, foot-and-mouth disease, African Horse Sickness and African swine fever have been serious challenges to our industry. Our department will have to improve on its capacity to deal with such disasters as they impact adversely on the rural economy. R954 million is allocated for plant and animal production, including inspection and laboratory services, R935 million for agricultural research which represents a substantial increase over the previous year’s allocation. Furthermore, R868 million is allocated to food security initiatives, and R349 million for extension support services including new farmer development support.

Our dedicated "Strategic Integrated Project" eleven on agro-logistics and rural infrastructure, as part of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, include plans for the following:

  • Fresh produce marketing depots for smallholder farmers
  • Production infrastructure for crops and animals
  • The revitalisation of various irrigation schemes, including the Vaalharts-Taung irrigation scheme
  • The refurbishment and upgrading of the agricultural colleges, and
  • Various projects such as grain storage facilities and rehabilitated irrigation schemes in the former homelands, fencing including border fences and animal quarantine facilities at our borders.

These infrastructure projects will be implemented in a phased approach. In addition, the rail freight network will be made more easily and cheaply available for the transport of bulk agriculture, forestry and fisheries commodities. To support these initiatives, the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) is allocated R1,5 billion, of which over R52,5 million will be used for infrastructure at the agricultural colleges, R322 million for the extension recovery plan, R762 million for infrastructure (mostly on-farm), and R398 million for flood damaged infrastructure in  disaster areas. 

In addition, the Land Care allocation for the coming year is R115 million, while the Ilima/Letsema programme gets a total of R415 million. In keeping with our theme of "Working together for food security," we hosted our first Delivery Forum during March this year. The delivery forum is an ideal platform to cement stakeholder relationships in pursuit of our developmental objectives. 

It will emphasise strong coordination and communication to ensure that things get done. Improving the flow of information and ideas between government and the private sector will enhance our ability to identify new and better opportunities for investment. We thank the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector in general and each individual in particular, for their selfless support. Our sector has become a significant role-player on the African continent. Our task would be but half done if we do not take up the cudgels to help South Africa become a country with total food security for all.

Our country has to play its rightful role in creating prosperity, jobs and equality for its people.

Your role, colleagues and friends, is to once again look deep into your work, and your hearts, and ask what more you can do to contribute to making South Africa a better country for all. Together, we can do more. Together, we can work towards food security for all. Honourable members, the total budget allocated to the department for this financial year is R5.8 billion. We would like this house to endorse this budget.

In conclusion speaker, I wish to thank the deputy minister, the MECs, the Director-General and the department, our State Owned Enterprises (SOE)s and the staff of the ministry for their diligence and the commitment which they displayed during the past year in executing the mandate of the department.

I thank you. 

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: Minister’s Budget Vote Speech

Date: 06 June 2012

The Honourable Chairperson of the NCOP;
Chairperson of the Select Committee: Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries;
The Honourable Deputy Minister;
Members of the National Council of Provinces; and the Executive Councils in the Provinces;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen

Honourable Chairperson, We have turned the tide in Agriculture!

Honourable Chairperson, it will be remiss of me not to say a few remarks about the youth on this aptly called Youth Month which Government will convene under the banner of  Together We Can Do More to Build Infrastructure and Fight Youth Unemployment, Poverty and Inequality.  The Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries will also take this opportunity to align its June programme to other significant events.  June will include celebrations around Environment Month under the theme: “Green Economy: Does it Include You?”  This initiative will involve the youth in the green economy. The scourge of poverty, unemployment  and inequality continues to beset our youth.
Additionally, the Department also acknowledges that on the 12th of June, the International Labour Organisaton will observe the 10th World Day Against Child Labour.  We call on all South Africans, business sector and civil society organisations to work with government in eradicating the challenges faced by our children and our youth.

As our former President, Nelson Mandela aptly said in a speech during 1995: “I am confident that South Africa’s youth is more than ready to meet the challenges of freedom.  Wherever you are, in the schools, in religious institutions, at work in the army and police services, in sporting bodies, as cultural workers….be assured that we love you and you shall always remain in our hearts. We are firm in our conviction that you deserve a better future.”

Our department is exploring various innovative initiatives to draw the youth into the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Sector by making the sector attractive and appealing to them.  The Department is participating in Youth Month activities by planting trees in all the 100 households that would have been built by young people.  

Towards the end of the month we will also be hosting a seminar titled: “The Role of Forests in Climate Adaptation and Mitigation”.

In my budget vote speech to the National Assembly barely a month ago, I expressed cautious optimism that we were finally turning the corner on employment in the agricultural sector.  At that time, we reported that jobs in the sector had increased by 31 000 over the second half of 2011.
This amounts to year-on-year growth in agricultural employment of 8.8%. If one takes formal sector agricultural employment on its own, the year-on-year growth is 12.3%! For a sector that has been steadily losing jobs since the 1970s, this is extremely good news.

Since then, the release of more employment data by the Stats SA Quarterly Labour has given us more reason for celebration in the sector: over the first quarter of 2012, employment in agriculture grew by a further 26 000!  The agriculture sector has been the driver of economic growth and job creation in the economy.  This is a major achievement for all stakeholders.

One particular question is whether the positive trends we are beginning to see in agricultural employment are the result of our long-term efforts to improve the trade environment for our farmers.

We are now exporting three times more wine than we did a decade ago. Our soaring wine exports are surely a good thing not only for farmers’ incomes and the trade balance, but also for job creation.  Exports of fish and fish products have rapidly expanded in China and Cameroon. Timber and forestry products are gaining ground in China and Indonesia. And we are exporting more and more maize to Zimbabwe.

Our exports have in fact undergone a structural shift over the past decade, with a smaller share going to our traditional markets in Europe, and a larger share going to destinations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.  For instance, exports to South Korea have increased from 2% to 3%; China from 1% to 3%; and the United Arab Emirates from 1% to 3% of our agri-food export basket.  Since 1994, the value of our agricultural exports has approximately doubled, after adjusting for inflation.

With rare exceptions, agri-food exports exceed imports by a sizeable margin, meaning that agriculture makes an impressive contribution to South Africa’s overall trade balance.

According to the latest production forecast of 24 May 2012, the South African commercial maize crop has been set at 11 million tons.    
The Department is steadily implementing the Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP) to support subsistence, smallholder and commercial producers.  CASP additionally provides effective agricultural support and streamlined services to targeted beneficiaries of land reform as well as black producers who have acquired land through private means. 

For the 2009/10 to 2011/12 MTEF period, R2.6bn was allocated and transferred to provinces to implement CASP.   2 863 projects were implemented countrywide, reaching 78 842 beneficiaries.  

These projects supported the entire spectrum of agricultural products by improving or providing required infrastructure for production and providing targeted training for beneficiaries.  During the same period, 677 new extension officers were recruited country-wide.
To date, 818 officers have registered with local universities for undergraduate degrees up to PhD level. 36 586 farmers received accredited and non-accredited training on agricultural production and this resulted in the creation of 20 500 jobs.

Honourable Chairperson, the total Budget allocation for our department for the 2012/13 Financial Year is R5.8 bn.  The allocation to our public entities and conditional grants will be disbursed as follows:

CASP (R1, 5bn); Ilima/Letsema   (R416m); ARC (R935 m); NAMC (R31m); PPECB (R600 000); Ncera (R3m); Marine Living Resources Fund (R253m).

National Treasury made available a total of R157.8 million through CASP over the 2011/12 to 2013/14 MTEF period to improve agricultural colleges’ infrastructure and facilities.  

This amount would also be used to ensure learning programmes accreditation and quality assurance, to establish and strengthen governance within these institutions, to ensure curricula review and provision of resources e.g., ICT and for capacity building of academic staff.  

A total of R590m was allocated and transferred to provinces for the Ilima/Letsema programme during the 2009/10 to 2011/12 MTEF period.  Three irrigation schemes in Taung, Vaalharts and Makhathini are being revitalised to support households, subsistence and smallholder farmers. A new irrigation scheme will be developed in Umzimvubu in the Eastern Cape to put more land under cultivation.
There are now 90 Rooibos producers in the Suidbokveld and Niewoudtville areas of Namaqualand. R30.8m was invested for the completion of the Rooibos Processing Plant.  In simple terms, hundreds of jobs were created!

Honourable Chairperson, early last year devastating floods wrought havoc in six provinces, incurring damages of R1.1bn.  Over the next three years, this money will be spent in the Provinces which were declared disaster areas by the National Government.

The Branch: Fisheries Management of the department is expanding our services beyond Cape Town to make our services more accessible to all our stakeholders.  In December last year, we initiated a pilot project to decentralise the permit applications and license-related enquiries services to the Eastern Cape Province.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 2012 will be remembered as the year in which the Small Scale Fisheries Policy was finalised and implemented.  This is significant because for the first time, fishing rights will also be allocated on a community basis. Cabinet has approved the policy. This is an historic moment as the Policy finally gives recognition to a sector that had inadvertently been excluded from the Long Term Rights Allocation Process of 2005.

The Small Scale Fisheries policy seeks to address imbalances of the past and ensure that small scale fishers are formerly recognised, catered for and properly managed in the current regulatory and legislative framework.  We have committed ourselves to making our theme for this financial year – “Working Together for Food Security” – a reality by forming a parnership with the Masibambisane Rural Development Initiative (MRDI), other government departments and the private sector to ensure that we eradicate poverty and stimulate the rural economy.  To date, the project has been launched in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape.

To date, the Department has allocated 1885 implements and 378 tractors to beneficiaries across the country.  This drive is a mechanism to lend a supporting hand to farmers who need it and to invest in food security in our communities.

We have established a Service Delivery Forum for the sector, which will monitor progress on outcomes related to agriculture, forestry and fisheries.  We have had two meetings thus far which were attended by representatives of the industry, including farmers’ organisations, producer and commodity organisations, farm-workers as well as our state-owned enterprises.  
This Forum is supported by a number of Implementation Forums that focus on a particular project, which involve public and private partnerships.  We are determined to achieve the targets set in our Service Delivery agreement with the President. 

Honourable Chair, this Service Delivery Forum will thus strengthen communication in the sector, act as a monitoring vehicle for service delivery and be an advisory body to the Minister and the Sector.

Honourable Chairperson, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries has indeed turned the corner.  Our achievements are a catalyst for us to work harder and smarter, and ensure that our people are the core beneficiaries in our struggle against poverty, unemployment and hunger.  These achievements are only possible when we work together with common objectives and desire positive outcomes.
I thank all the Stakeholders, the Director-General and the officials of the department.

Please refer to the attached annexure for a detailed account of the department’s work


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