Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) on 1st Quarter 2011 Performance

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

14 November 2011
Chairperson: Ms N Twala (ANC) (Acting)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries presented its quarter 2011/12 performance and expenditure report under the main headings of overview and the six budget programmes performance. The Department noted that the process of adhering to the performance management system was still continuing well. The overall percentage reduction in vacancy rate was at 12.6 % for the period under review – a decline from 13% at the beginning of the quarter. 6 001 smallholder farmers and 5 382 subsistence farmers received support through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme and Letsema conditional grants. 2 022 jobs had been  created through the above Programme and ilima/ Letsema.  Departmental job creation plans were presented and accepted by Cabinet and translated into 141 provincial projects. The agricultural trade strategy was currently under revision to include forestry and fisheries sector strategies. Good progress had been made to finalise a Memorandum of Understanding with Senegal.  A draft document on food security policy had been completed. A consultation process had been initiated with a presentation made to the Integrated Food Security and Nutrition Task Team, Social Protection and Community Development Cluster and the Food Lab (Experts in Food Security Interventions). Four sites for the establishment of agri-villages had been identified - Ncera Farms  in the Eastern Cape focusing on agriculture, St Helena in the Western Cape focusing on fisheries, Mooifontein in Mpumalanga focusing on Forestry, and Etwa in the Eastern Cape focusing on agriculture. An agreement had been reached with all provinces during the National Vulnerable Workers Delivery Forum Meeting of 19 May 2011 on how to go about establishing both the Vulnerable Workers Delivery Units and forums in provinces. The document on coping with floods had been drafted and circulated within the Early Warning Unit for inputs and comments, and the National Agricultural Disaster Risk Management Committee meeting had been held. The National Aquaculture Strategic Framework  was developed and approved. An Integrated Fisheries Security strategy was developed and would be taken through approval processes. 413 jobs were created through working for fisheries.

Members wanted to know why there was a separate information and communications technology for Fisheries; why harbours were in a bad state; when would the Department start working and stop planning; if Landbank was executing its mandate; and what the relationship between the Department and the Agriculture Sector Education and Training Authority.


Meeting report

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) on 1st Quarter 2011 Performance
Programme: Administration
Mr Langa Zita, Director-General, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) reported that the process of adhering to performance management system was still continuing well.
The overall DAFF percentage reduction in vacancy rate was at 12.6 % for the period under review – a reduction from 13% at the beginning of the quarter.  The programme for training of senior management on disciplinary procedures had been finalised and implementation would start in the following quarters.

30% of DAFF employees were trained as per the Human Resource Development Strategy. In all the wellness campaigns 454 employees participated. There were other activities done during the period under review such as conducting inspections and risks assessments, investigating incidents and attending to occupational health and safety (OHS) complaints.

The Work Study Programme was approved and implementation started.  Roll-out meetings were held with all the Skills Development Representatives within the department was held.

The procurement process for a  service provider to conduct the Behavioural Risk Management Audit was currently underway. Engagements with provinces through strategic planning sessions were ongoing to get their plans to align with national. The Free State province session was attended with success. Engagements were also continuing through the existing Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Forum.

6 001 smallholder farmers and 5 382 subsistence farmers received support through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme and Letsema conditional grants. 2 022 jobs had been  created through the above Programme and Ilima/ Letsema. 

DAFF job creation plans had been presented to and accepted by Cabinet. They were translated into 141 provincial projects. With projections of creating 310 246 jobs; reaching 691 937 households for food security; supporting 366 578 smallholder farmers, and rehabilitating 257 400 hectares (ha) of land. Projections were currently being ratified, after which resource requirements would be addressed with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

6 001 smallholder farmers and 5 382 subsistence farmers received support through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme and Letsema conditional grants. 2 022 jobs had been  created through the above Programme and Ilima/ Letsema.  Departmental job creation plans were presented and accepted by Cabinet and translated into 141 provincial projects.

Programme: Economic Development, Trade and Marketing
The agricultural trade strategy was currently under revision to include forestry and fisheries sector strategies. Good progress had been made to finalise a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Senegal. Comments and inputs were being awaited from Senegal regarding finalisation on cooperation agreements.

Guideline documents were discussed with Free State, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape for the establishment of a smallholders association. An MoU had been signed with the Land Bank for the implementation of an equity fund and the associated budget had been transferred to the Bank.

The Department was currently working with the Forest Council to finalise the Business plan  for 2011/12. However, the process had been delayed by the suspension of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). A study on  transformation in  the fisheries  sector was being discussed with stakeholders prior to the commencement of the Charter development process.

The marketing networks concept had been completed and would be taken through approval processes before piloting it with the grain industry. The drafting of the DAFF agro-processing strategy was in progress.  An extensive process of consultations with other Government departments such as Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Economic Development Department (EDD) and Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) was under way to ensure proper alignment.

Programme: Food Security and Agrarian Reform
A Draft document on food security policy had been completed. A consultation process had been initiated with presentation made to the Integrated Food Security and Nutrition Task Team (IFSNTT), the Social Protection and Community Development Cluster, and the Food Lab (Experts in Food Security Interventions).

The Draft Document on Zero Hunger Strategy had also been completed. It was being presented to the Science and Technology and Committee; IFSNTT; the Social Protection and Community Development Cluster; Western Cape-IFSNTT and the senior management of the Northern Cape.

A Draft Smallholder Development Strategic Plan had been developed and ready to be taken for approval before consultation with relevant stakeholders.

The final draft policy on Mechanisation Support had been developed. This draft would now be distributed to Provincial Engineers to be discussed at the Engineering Forum meeting with provincial engineers and their inputs would be added to the document.

The existing documents on norms and standards for production technologies as well as related documents on fencing, stock water provisioning and waste management had been collected and scrutinised. The shortcomings had been identified.

A number of smallholder farmers attached to Government priority programmes as beneficiaries in the provinces went through training in seven different skills training programmes. These programmes were: Beef Production; Goat production; Financial Management; Pig Production; Soil Preparations and planting; Vegetable Production; and Routine Slaughter training.

The concept document on the establishment of agri-villages had been finalised. This document would be tabled at the next Agricultural and Sustainable Rural Development Committee (ASRDC) / Seychelles Trading Company (STC) meeting and subsequently to the Departmental executive committee (DEXCO) for approval.

Four sites for agri-villages establishment had been identified. They were: Ncera Farms  in the Eastern Cape focusing on Agriculture, St Helena in the Western Cape focusing on fisheries, Mooifontein in Mpumalanga focusing on Forestry, and Etwa in the Eastern Cape focusing on agriculture.

An agreement had been reached with all provinces during the National Vulnerable Workers Delivery Forum Meeting of 19 May 2011 on how to go about establishing both the Vulnerable Workers Delivery Units and forums in provinces. The Western Cape, Mpumalanga and Free State had already established their Vulnerable Workers Units.

Programme: Agriculture Production, Health And Food Safety
A meeting was held with the South Africa (SA) Pork Producers and a follow up was made to the Department of Trade and Industry.

A Cabinet submission regarding the amendment of the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Professions Act 1982 (Act No. 19 of 1982) for the deployment of veterinary graduates to do compulsory community service had been drafted and was about to be presented to Cabinet. 7 660 animal identification marks were registered during the quarter under review.

Five export facilities were inspected. A bill to amend the current legislation on fertilisers and farm feeds was sent to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJCD) for vetting.

A draft regulatory amendment of the Liquor Products Act 1989 (Act No. 60 of 1989) had been submitted to Legal Services for vetting.

The implementation plans for the Grain Strategy & Fruit Strategy have been developed in support of the strategies. Meetings were held with key government departments in April 2011 regarding genetically modified organisms (GMO) consignments, and a draft risk matrix was discussed in line with experiences in other countries. Arrangements for preparatory meetings of  the On-Farm Conservation Project in KwaZulu-Natal were underway.

A Draft policy document on Plant Improvement was developed and stakeholders in DAFF were consulted and their inputs were incorporated into the draft document.

A briefing session with officials on repatriation plans (indigenous livestock) took place in Free State during June 2011 and the briefing meetings for North West were held during July 2011.

Programme: Forestry and Natural Resources Management
453 growers were assisted with technical assistance and advice. They obtained planting licences and business development skills. They partnered with the Mondi Group for financial support in tLimpopo, Mpumalanga, KZN, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.

810 job opportunities which were equivalent to 3.5 full-time equivalents (FTE) had been created by Land Care between April and June 2011 in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and Limpopo.
 
The document on coping with floods had been drafted and circulated within the Early Warning Unit for inputs and comments. The National Agricultural Disaster Risk Management Committee meeting was held on 30 June 2011 and other meetings for the National Drought Task Team and National Agro-Meteorological Committee were held on August and September.

The implementation of  the Western Cape Flood Disaster Relief Scheme was underway and a visit for monitoring was done in July. 

Two irrigation schemes - Taung and Vaalharts revitalisation projects - were in a planning phase.

6960 ha were rehabilitated through enforcement of the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act 1983 (CARA) enforcement and 166 ha through Land Care during the first quarter of the year.

A national climate change conference had been organised to solicit inputs for the development of the Adaptation and Mitigation Plan for the sector.

252 084 trees were planted by DAFF and other stakeholders in all nine provinces including municipalities in support of the Greening Strategy.

Programme: Fisheries Management
The National Aquaculture Strategic Framework (NASF) was developed and approved by DEXCO during the period under review.

Three fish farms were identified and approved (Camdeboo, Hamburg and Mamre) and Service Level Agreement for Hamburg in Peddie had already been signed with the Service Provider.

Two projects had been initiated. One for the provision of mobile cold storage facilities for fish and the other for Fishermen’s Heritage Projects to develop fish processing plant in Kleinmond.

Ten projects were identified. Two were implemented and completed. Five were being implemented and three were still in planning. These projects were community projects identified through the Working for Fisheries programme.

Despite severe resource and capacity constraints, relevant Scientific Research had been carried out on all 22 fishery sectors.  Work was on target to meet the deadlines for resource assessments and catch limit recommendations for all 22 fishery sectors.

An exploratory fishery for octopus was in the process of being established, following on from an experimental fishery. An exploratory fishery for red bait was also under investigation.

A final sector report for commercial fishing right holders’ was in the process of finalisation. The 3rd Forum meeting was held during the period under review to explore introduction of an alternative permitting system (electronic) for recreational fishing.

Collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) through the Benguela Current Committee (BCC) had been established to undertake ecological risk assessments.

Inputs from management into Large Pelagics fisheries management plans were currently being incorporated for the period under review.

Discussion
Ms N Phaliso (ANC) wanted to know if the Land Bank was executing its mandate based on what it was created for because it did not seem to protect farms from liquidation. She further asked who identified Agri-villages, and why harbours were struggling with facilities.

Mr Zita explained that the Land Bank was not the property of DAFF. It was only the Minister of Finance and the Chief Executive Officer of Land Bank who could answer questions about it.

Agri-villages were jointly identified with the help of provincial departments. They were settlements for vulnerable workers.

Most of the harbours were under the management of the Public Works Department, not DAFF.  DAFF had  no say on how they were run. He further indicated there were 12 proclaimed registered harbours, most of which  were in the Western Cape. DAFF was currently looking at additional harbours in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The twelve harbours still needed to be upgraded before those planned could be added. The only outstanding issue was the finalisation of the transfer of these harbours from Public Works to DAFF.

Mr S Abram (ANC) angrily asked why DAFF was continuously planning and when it would start doing the work.

Mr Zita replied that DAFF reported to the Committee on what it did on a frequent and regular basis. Members must tell DAFF on what to report. If they needed results, that was fine and results would be provided. If they did not want processes, they must indicate so. He went on to say when one dealt with Government, it was not easy to do things at the pace one wanted because there were so many stakeholders to consult.

Mr M Cele (ANC) wanted to know about the location of the service points.

Mr Zita explained that it was impossible  inland to manage fishing. That was why the operations were in Cape Town. He further clarified that service points were not physical structures per se. There were service providers doing the work on behalf of DAFF. The challenge was on employees who were in Forestry. It had been found that living conditions in those plantations were not conducive. The service points were rolled out in all provinces.

The Chairperson enquired why Fisheries was going to have its own information and communications technology (ICT), and what the relationship was between DAFF and the Agricultural Sector Education and Training Authority (Agri-Seta).

With regard to the ICT matter, Mr Zita emphasised that there was no separate ICT system for Fisheries. There was only one ICT system for DAFF.

Lastly, on the issue of relationships with Agri-Seta, he explained there were three line-function SETAs. All three were components of DAFF. Service Level Agreements have been signed with them on how to work together. DAFF had  representation on the Boards of the three SETAs. The relationship that existed was functionary. The SETAs followed the Department's strategic priorities.

The meeting was adjourned.


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