Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 4th Quarter 2014/15 & 1st Quarter 2015/16 Performance

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

17 August 2015
Chairperson: Ms M Semenya (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) highlighted that it had recorded the highest growth rate of 72% in the export of wood.

Some key highlights were that the Department has finalised the Integrated Development Finance Framework with the Land Bank and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR). Three Bills (Plant Breeders’ Right Bill; Plant Improvement Bill; and the Performing Animals Protection Amendment Bill) were approved by Cabinet and are being discussed by Parliament.

Intra-African trade increased by 44,8% during the past financial year. The main products that drove the increase were fruits such as apples, fresh grapes and pears while wine, sugar, maize and fish remain the major contributors to exports.

The up scaling of the certification programme through the South African Good Agricultural Practices (SA-GAP) led to higher achievement. 39 producers who are in the process of being SA-GAP certified were linked to markets.

The largest sub-sector in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries export basket in 2014, based on value, were fruit and nuts while the highest growth was in the export of wood with a growth rate of 72%. The Draft Aquaculture Bill is being consulted and is expected to be ready by 2016/17.

On lowlights, reliable timeous reporting by provinces and effective monitoring remained imperfect. The Public Entities Governance and Reporting Framework was not approved. The Department was unable to meet the deadline for the gazetting of the Regulations for Small-Scale Fishing as the period for consultation was extended.

During the fourth quarter, the Department spent 18, 9% of its budget. For all the quarters; it spent 99.1% of the total budget of R6, 6 billion.

Regarding the 2015/16 first quarter performance report, DAFF pointed Phase 1 of Operation Phakisa was supported through the Aquaculture Development and Enhancement Programme (ADEP). The target for finalising the Draft Aquaculture Bill was not achieved though input from stakeholders has been consolidated and discussed. The DPME informed DAFF that the Socio Economic Impact Assessment Systems (SEISAS) should be incorporated in all policies and legislation being developed with effect from 1 July 2015.

The implementation plan for the biogas production integrated crop-livestock system was developed. The Ministerial consented to the gazetting of the promulgation of the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Framework Bill. The notice for public comments was gazetted on 13 March 2015.

Pertaining to ensuring support for market access and processing of agricultural products, the Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) pre-audits have been concluded for 6 farms under the South Africa-Good Agriculture Practices (SA-GAP).

718 smallholder producers were not supported because of the delays in the transfer of CASP funds to the provinces. The target for the 1st draft of Comprehensive Producer Development Support Policy has not been achieved because a roadmap for fast-tracking the conclusion of the Policy has not been tabled.

On effective management of bio-security and ensuring increased production and productivity in prioritised areas, the Procurement Plan was developed and sent through to supply chain for implementation during 2015/16. The draft Veterinary Strategy has been developed. A submission to the Minister to request permission to consult stakeholders on the draft Veterinary Strategy has been drafted but not yet approved.

With regard to ensuring compliance with statutory requirements and good governance practices, and on strengthening institutional mechanisms for integrated policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation, the Project Risk Assessment was conducted during the period under review. The Human Resources Plan Implementation Report has been developed and submitted on 27 may 2015 at DPSA. The MTEF HR Plan has been developed, approved and submitted to DPSA on 30 June 2015.

26, 5% of the total allocated budget of R6, 38 billion has been spent. The Department overspent by 1,5%.

Members asked why the target on the Aquaculture Bill was not met; why the target on the bona fide fisheries report was not met, and asked for clarity on the racial quotas; enquired what the Department is doing to ensure local retailers buy from local smallholder farmers; would the Department carry out the verification process or would it be outsourced; if the Department is budgeting according to trends, and what was the impact of not working on 25/25; and how long South Africa is going to rely on GMOs to feed herself.
 

Meeting report

Quarter 4 2014/15 Performance Report

Professor Edith Vries, Director-General: DAFF, focused her presentation on Programmes Administration; Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety; Food Security and Agrarian Reform; Trade Promotion and Market Access; Forestry and Natural Resources Management; and Fisheries Management

Programme 1: Administration

Regarding efficient and effective internal control and strengthening the culture of compliance, the Risk Management Plan has been developed, approved and implemented by the Risk Management Committee. The Director-General and Minister in the beginning of Quarter 2 have approved the Human Resources Plan. The Department continued to monitor and evaluate the Human Resources Plan through its implementation plan. The Integrated Development Finance Policy Framework was developed and approved by EXCO.

On strengthening institutional mechanisms for integrated policy and planning, all the publications were updated accordingly and the information was loaded on the website for all to access. The data updated on Fisheries is only based on Aquaculture, as it is the only usable statistics found. The strategic plan and the Annual Performance Plan were tabled in Parliament on 11 March 2015. The Research and Development Agenda was updated and approved for implementation in guiding the call for projects under the RTF.

Programme 2: Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety

With regard to advancing APAP through increased production and productivity in prioritised value chain, and on effective management of bio-security and sector related risks, a report on the 2 animal improved scheme monitored was compiled with the purpose of measuring the impact of the scheme on animal production for prioritised value chain commodities. A report on the delivery of Primary Animal Health Care mobile clinics was compiled and delivered to provinces. The Animal Disease Management Plan was developed to improve the performance of Veterinary Services with the mission to ensure that human and animal well-being is optimised. The Surveillance Report on 1 plant disease and pest risk was compiled. The purpose of the surveillance is to detect, prevent and mitigate the outbreak of plant diseases and pests.

Programme 3: Food Security and Agrarian Reform

Concerning leading and coordinating government food security initiatives, the Food and Nutrition Security Implementation Plan has been finalised. The target was not achieved on the 2 452 smallholder producers that were supposed to have been supported through CASP because the non-alignment of the technical indicator descriptions for PDAs and DAFF rendered some unacceptable evidence during auditing.

The target was not achieved on the 3 262.1 ha planted in the North West because the HODs have not signed off on their planting reports. DAFF engaged with the HODs to take corrective action. On enhancing skills capacity for efficient delivery and strengthening planning, implementation and monitoring of programmes, the norms and standards on comprehensive producer support were endorsed by EXCO on 16 March 2015. The Reviewed National Education and Training Strategy was tabled at the EXCO meeting on March 2015 and was approved. Provincial Extension Forums were established in all provinces.

Programme 4: Economic Development, Trade and Marketing

Pertaining to ensuring support for market access and processing of agricultural products, 39 producers were linked to markets during Quarter 4. The certification programme has been up-scaled through the South African Good Agricultural Practices (SA-GAP) and this has led to higher achievements. In collaboration with the Forestry Sector Charter Council, the annual report on status of transformation in the forestry sector has been completed and approved by the Council. Progress reports on implementation and negotiations of trade agreements have been consolidated. The signing of CAADP compact by the business community and government could not be presented to the Cabinet for approval because it has to be recommended by the Cluster committees. The recommendation by these Cluster committees could not be secured during the year under review.

Programme 5: Forestry and Natural Resources Management

In order to ensure the conservation, protection, rehabilitation and recovery of depleted and degraded natural resources, 189.41 ha of woodlands and indigenous forests were rehabilitated. 18657.9 ha of land were rehabilitated. The over achievement of 9157.9 ha was due to additional funding on Land Care fencing projects from CASP which led to more additional hectares being rehabilitated in the Western Cape. Climate change research programmes on crop suitability has been implemented in Limpopo, Free State, and Mpumalanga provinces, and a detailed report on implementation has been compiled.

Programme 6: Fisheries Management

Three fish farms were supported. Technical Assessments and Site Visits were conducted. Financial support was provided through the Aquaculture Development and Enhancement programme. Internal consultations on the Aquaculture Bill were conducted and the Concept Bill was approved by EXCO on 30 March 2015. 2011 sea based and land based inspections and investigations of right holders in the 4 prioritised fisheries were conducted.  Hake TAC recommendations were formulated and approved. Growth trials on dusky kob were performed following the development of a dietary formula and that boosted growth of 5g juveniles to 53g size within 10 weeks.

(Graphs and tables were shown to illustrate budget expenditure)

Quarter 1 2015/16 Performance Report

The Director-General focused her presentation on Programmes Administration; Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety; Food Security and Agrarian Reform; Trade Promotion and Market Access; Forestry and Natural Resources Management; and Fisheries Management

Programme 1: Administration

With regard to ensuring compliance with statutory requirements and good governance practices, and on strengthening institutional mechanisms for integrated policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation, the Project Risk Assessment was conducted during the period under review. The Human Resources Plan Implementation Report has been developed and submitted on 27 May 2015 at DPSA. The MTEF HR Plan has been developed, approved and submitted to DPSA on 30 June 2015.

Eight new misconduct cases were received and only 1 has been finalised. The other 7 cases are at various stages towards completion and are still within 100 days standard. The Plant Health and Liquor Bills were en route to the Minister. The quarterly report on Implementation of Integrated Development Finance Framework has been submitted.

The environmental scan was conducted as desktop research. The scan focused on the technical content to address new priorities and to ensure alignment with new priorities. The documents analysed included APAP, MTSF, Revitalisation of Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition Implementation Plan and Aquaculture Operation Phakisa.

Seven Service Level Agreements with ARC could not be signed due to the delay of ARC Legal Services which is considering some recommendations. The Policy Analysis and Review Tool was reviewed and updated to include criteria for selecting sectoral policies for review, the roles and responsibilities of policy owners and for the PPME branch and the processes to validate the outcome from the review.

Media plans have been compiled and implemented. Provincial IGR forums have not been established. However, DAFF is supporting DRDLR with establishing District Land Committees.

Programme 2: Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety

On effective management of bio-security and ensuring increased production and productivity in prioritised areas, the Procurement Plan was developed and sent through to supply chain for implementation during 2015/16. The draft Veterinary Strategy has been developed. A submission to the Minister to request permission to consult stakeholders on the draft Veterinary Strategy was drafted but not yet approved. The consultation processes would commence immediately once permission has been granted.

The survey and analysis of the current situation has been conducted. This has resulted in an inventory of the status of Farm Animal Genetic Resources. The provinces have been informed of the project. The monitoring of the seed scheme has been done and data captured for 27 units that were registered during the quarter. Four regulatory interventions were implemented involving the quarantine of animals, inspections at regional and port of entries, surveillance and testing. A report on the monitoring interventions was completed for the quarter under review.

Programme 3: Food Security and Agrarian Reform

The production plan for 2015/16 has been developed. Targets were not met for the 662 household that were supposed to be supported through the food and nutritional security initiatives because the process of validating evidence is progressing and the report results would be reflected in the next quarterly report.

718 smallholder producers were not supported because of delays in the transfer of CASP funds to the provinces. The target for the 1st draft of Comprehensive Producer Development Support Policy was not achieved because a roadmap for fast-tracking the conclusion of the Policy has not been tabled.

The draft terms of reference for National Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Education and Training implementation forum has been developed.

Programme 4: Economic Development, Trade and Marketing

Pertaining to ensuring support for market access and processing of agricultural products, the Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) pre-audits have been concluded for 6 farms under the South Africa-Good Agriculture Practices (SA-GAP).

There was no sitting of the Aquaculture Value Chain Round-table during the quarter under review because the industry is still aligning the work of the AVCRT with Operation Phakisa for Aquaculture. Ten cooperatives were supported with training using the Farm Together cooperative training programme (5 in Limpopo and 5 in KwaZulu-Natal).

DAFF participated in a Strategic Planning session of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) – RSA Capacity Building project on 5 and 6 May 2015; and also participated in the Agro Dealer Project Inception Workshop in Polokwane.

Consultations with the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency were arranged for June to draft the terms of reference for analytical studies. The draft Terms of Reference for analytical studies for evidenced based planning is available. The Cabinet memo on CAADP Compact has been revised and is ready for resubmission to Director-General Clusters.

Programme 5: Forestry and Natural Resources Management

The implementation plan for the biogas production integrated crop-livestock system was developed. The Ministerial consented to the gazetting of the promulgation of the Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Framework Bill. The notice for public comments was gazetted on 13 March 2015.

The environmental practitioner was appointed and an inception report was submitted. The appointment of the Professional Service Provider was done in February 2015. DAFF took into consideration unforeseen delays such as the tender being advertised repeatedly before the suitable candidate could be appointed.

Programme 6: Fisheries Management

Phase 1 of Operation Phakisa has been supported through the Aquaculture Development and Enhancement Programme (ADEP). The target for finalising the Draft Aquaculture Bill was not achieved though input from stakeholders has been consolidated and discussed. The DPME informed DAFF that the Socio Economic Impact Assessment Systems (SEISAS) should be incorporated in all policies and legislation being developed with effect from 1 July 2015. So, the undertaking of the SEISAS in the drafting of the Aquaculture Bill delayed the finalisation of the drafted Bill. 1524 compliance and enforcement measures in the four prioritised fisheries sector – hake, abalone, rock lobster, and line fish – have been implemented.

(Graphs and tables were shown to illustrate budget expenditure)

Discussion

Mr C Maxegwana (ANC) remarked there is disjuncture when it comes to the performance of the Office of the Director-General when it is compared with other areas of the Department. He asked for clarity on budget-cuts, and wanted to establish how the Department is going to succeed in agro-processing if there are no Provincial IGR Forums.

The Director-General, regarding the disjuncture in her Office, said her Office is a governance area. It needs to be judged on indicators. The Office looks at risk management and overall performance of the Department. On the issue of budget-cuts, the Department is doing more with less. For instance, the 7% increase for civil servants was not budgeted for and it is going to be taken from goods and services. Things are going to be tighter and tighter. Concerning agro-processing, 25% of manufacturing is agro-processing. The agro-processing plan is ready to be presented to the Committee.

Mr T Ramokhoase (ANC) asked why the target on the Aquaculture Bill was not met.

Ms Siphokazi Ndudane, Acting Director-General in Fisheries Management: DAFF, explained that the Bill has been developed but the requirement for social impact came very late. Two workshops ere conducted to assist with the incorporation of social impact in the Bill. This is going to fall under 2015/16 Quarter 2 Performance Report.

Mr Z Mandela (ANC) asked the Department to explain misconduct regarding the disciplinary cases, and the nature of the cases. How were targets going to be met if there is no set budget for irrigation schemes?

The Director-General, on the meaning of misconduct, explained that the moment a person is charged, the act starts to count that as misconduct. This excludes the investigation period. The nature of the cases could not be discussed on a public forum. Most cases are around the misuse of government vehicles, AWOL, fraud, and financial and procurement mismanagement. Concerning the irrigation schemes budget, she acknowledged that no budget was given to the irrigation schemes, but agricultural engineers are going to develop on-farm plans. The budget is with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, and in order to implement irrigation there must first be an increase in the amount of land under production.

Ms Z Jongbloed (DA) wanted to know why the target on the bona fide fisheries report was not met and asked for clarity on the racial quotas. She asked if the Department would be carrying out the verification process or if it is going to be outsourced.

Ms Siphokazi Ndudane, with regard to bona fide fisheries, indicated that bona fide fisheries could not be appointed because comments were not yet finalised. The period for comments has been extended. On racial quotas, there were people deliberately confusing people on racial quotas. In the legislation that deals with racial quotas there is a paragraph that talks about balancing a criteria. It is stated that rights could not be allocated to all those who qualify. Criteria for scoring those who qualify have to be used.  The document also talks about the use of demographics. It says they may be used whether they are national, provincial or even those of the metro cities. That is not a racial thing.

Pertaining to verification, the Department would not be involved in the verification process. Verification is going to be outsourced according to provinces. It is going to benefit all those who have applied.

Mr N Paulsen (EFF) enquired what the Department is doing to make sure local retailers buy from local smallholder farmers, and if there were incentives in place to ensure that the country trades with neighbouring African countries instead of Europe.

The Minister said it is important to look at the quality of the product to ensure it meets the standards of the retailers or buyers. This also requires the improvement of entrepreneurial skills. Local retailers do buy from small stakeholder farmers. It takes time to know what the buyers want in terms of quality specifications. Fortunately, that information has been collected and is being shared with smallholder farmers.

The Director-General, concerning trading incentives, indicated that the provision of incentives is not the mandate of the Department.

Mr S Mncwabe (NFP) asked whether funding was provided to the ten cooperatives that were supported in Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal.

An official of the Department acknowledged that funding has been stretched across the role players. Key players interact with the Department of Trade and Industry for the registration of co-operatives. DAFF only provides training; the provinces are responsible for implementation.

Ms A Steyn (DA) asked if the Department is budgeting according to trends and what the impact is of not working on 25/25. There is a need to set the baseline to make sure there is an impact because the target of supporting 662 households through food and nutritional security initiatives was not met.

Mr Jacob Hlatshwayo, Chief Financial Officer: DAFF, with regard to budget, indicated that the Department is making use of simple mathematics which involves taking the total budget and divide it by twelve on a monthly basis. On baseline, the Department approached Treasury to look at the augmentation for funds requested in the past years. The Department has spoken to Statistics SA for the establishment of the baseline and to have it monitored.

The Chairperson asked for clarity on the Food Security Plan; and why it is difficult to get information from provincial HODs.

Mr Mortimer Mannya, Deputy Director-General in Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety: DAFF, said verification has been done. The HODs requested an extension of time so that they could do their own verification because they had to sign the reports. Concerning the Food Security Plan, DAFF has submitted a plan and an evaluation report. Cabinet indicated it should be submitted as a Food and Nutrition Security Implementation Plan.

Mr N Cebekhulu (IFP) asked how long South Africa is going to rely on GMOs to feed herself.

An official from the Department explained that discussions were held with Parliament to provide space for the utilisation of GMOs for preserving animal health. It is only maize, Soya and cotton that contain GM. The issue around the GMO is legislated.

The meeting was adjourned.

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