In the last 15 years, South Africa has been battling to find Black African rugby lock-forwards because, it is argued, African children are stunted and the situation is getting worse. This came out during discussion when the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation made an inter-departmental presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries about the National Food and Nutrition Security Plan and progress on Operation Phakisa.
The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation reported there have been various consultations with key stakeholders regarding the National Food and Nutrition Security Plan. A two-day indaba, funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, was held in January 2017 as part of the consultative process of the National Food and Nutrition Security Plan. The indaba presented the task team with an opportunity to critically review the plan and provide feedback.
The National Food and Nutrition Security Plan is made up of six strategic objectives which have to look at establishing a multi-sectoral Food and Nutrition Security Council to oversee alignment of policies, legislation and programmes, and coordination and implementation of programmes and services which address Food and Nutrition Security; establishing inclusive local food value chains to support access to nutritious affordable food; expanding targeted social protection measures and sustainable livelihood programmes; scaling up of high impact nutrition specific interventions targeting nutritionally vulnerable groups across the life cycle; developing an integrated communication plan to influence people across the life cycle to make informed food and nutrition decisions; and developing a monitoring and evaluation system for Food and Nutrition Security, including an integrated risk management system for monitoring Food and Nutrition Security related risks.
These strategic objectives are driving key issues and considerations. It was highlighted that strategic objective 2 is the largest contributor to the estimated costs of the plan. It represents 78,2% of the plan’s total costs. This strategic intervention proposes the doubling of the number of extension officers employed over the National Food and Nutrition Security Plan period. Strategic objective 3, in terms of costs, proposes the implementation of early registration of children born in public facilities; implementation of a universal child support grant registration; and the expansion of the coverage of the meal provision programmes at Community and Nutrition Development Centres, Early Childhood Development Centres, and schools.
97,2% of the costs of strategic objective 4 are related to the increasing of coverage of Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation. The second largest cost driver of this strategic intervention is the goal to improve access and coverage of breastfeeding and complimentary feeding counselling. The costs for strategic objective 5 are driven primarily by the implementation of the Food and Nutrition Advocacy and Communication Strategy. It was emphasised the plan should incorporate points of review to assess the impact of the communication strategy. Then costs for strategic objective 6 are for establishing a working Monitoring and Evaluation Unit to ensure it is involved in all government interventions that have a Food and Nutrition Security element.
The Department of Monitoring and Evaluation stated the National Food and Nutrition Security Plan would require an average increase of 13, 7% in funding over the 5-year period. The resource requirement is tremendous. This makes focused and specific planning all-important.
With regard to progress on Operation Phakisa which is led by the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, and supported by the Department of Monitoring and Evaluation; it was reported the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is working on optimising the management of natural resources. The Fortified Veld Management for sustainable livestock production initiative seeks to improve veld and pasture management for purposes of improving livestock production. This initiative requires coordination of all programmes and projects aimed at veld and pasture management. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Land Care budget is to be used for the implementation of the Fortified Veld Management initiative.
On skills and capacity development, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has enhanced animal health through revolutionary veterinary services. The capacity of veterinary services is being extended in a multi-level coordinated approach, utilising improvements in livestock identification, movement control and traceability for improved disease surveillance and control. Proposed organisational change to veterinary governance was sent to the State Law advisers. The response was that there is no need for a change in the Constitution, and that other legal mechanisms are possible. A submission requesting a work study and job evaluation for the National Veterinary Services was drafted.
In terms of funding and finance, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is unlocking finance for grains through Public Private Partnerships. It is creating a structured financial solution for smallholder farmers by tapping into a government security fund which is to be created through redirected grant funds. The Department has engaged with GRAINSA, the Grain Farmer Development Association, AgBiz Grain, Animal feed Manufacturers Association and South African Cereals and Oilseeds Trade Association as role players to this initiative and is developing a suite of financial models (production, processing and Research and Development)) with state guarantees/incentives based on the existing models. 60% of the average Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme budget spent on grains per province would be committed to finance this initiative.
Concerning value chain development and market access, the Department is formalising the integration of smallholder farmers in the grains value chain through South African Futures Exchange 10-ton Black Economic Empowerment White Maize contracts for smallholder farmers producing grain. The Department is undertaking financial risk assessments (benefits and disadvantages) of the South African Futures Exchange 10 Ton contract along with other models, and it is developing the model / packaging of the initiative to determine how the government would make it attractive for both farmers and buyers to participate in this programme. 60% of the average Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme budget spent on grains per province would be committed to finance this initiative.
On coordination and knowledge management, the Department would be conducting a formal complete livestock census to be repeated every 5 years. It is developing an interactive animal identification system using the available legal instruments (Animal Identification Act, Animal Improvement Act, Animal Improvement Policy, etc.) to implement an integrated national livestock data base for performance recording and traceability in order to improve animal husbandry, enable proper planning and decision making, and allow for competitive market access. The Department has drafted the Livestock Identification and Traceability System Policy document which is now gazetted and prepared for the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment System process. A policy consultation workshop took place with 110 attendees from the Red Meat Industry, consumer groups, national and provincial government officials, and other stakeholders on 14 August 2017.
Members asked for clarity on the required R8,2 billion required to reach strategic objective 2 goals; wanted to know if an increase in the agricultural budget to support the hungry in specific areas does decrease hunger in those affected areas; stated their concern is around the costs not provided for the establishment of the Food and Nutrition Security Councils because they fear the local government would not want to interfere; asked what the terms of references are for the Multi-Sectoral Council; wanted to know if the inclusion of new graduates has been considered in these councils; wanted to find out if the communication strategy of the Food and Nutrition Security Plan of Action is good enough to compete with social media which is big because billboards do not appear to be doing the job especially in rural areas where literacy levels are low; remarked it is important to look at how the curriculum of agricultural education is designed because the country is failing in agriculture as it is not taught in schools and the Higher Education and Training Department is excluding it; and wanted to know how often the implementation team meets and how it is monitored because the National Food and Nutrition Security Plan has good ideas and plans, but the problem with such programmes is implementation.
Dr Tsakani Ngomane, Outcome Facilitator for Rural Economy: DPME, shared with the Committee progress on the implementation of the National Food and Nutrition Security Plan (NFNSP) (2017-2022). The plan is centred around 6 Strategic Objectives which involve the departments of Monitoring and Evaluation, Health, Social Development, Rural Development and Land Reform, and Basic Education.
Strategic Objective 1:
Strategic Objective 1 is aimed at establishing a multi-sectoral Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) Council to oversee alignment of policies, legislation and programmes; to coordinate and implement programmes and services which address FNS, and draft new policies and legislation where appropriate. Strategic Objective 1 is led by the DPME. The terms of reference for the multi-sectoral Food and Nutrition Security Council were developed and submitted to the office of the Deputy President. It is proposed the Council should be chaired by the Deputy President of the country, this being modelled on the South African National Aids Council (SANAC). The National Food and Nutrition Security Plan (NFNSP) was presented to the Cabinet Committee for Social protection and Human Development Cluster on 22 November 2016 for noting. The DPME has appointed an external service provider – DNA Economics and Cornerstone – to conduct costing of the Food and Nutrition Plan 2017-2022 to enable the government to fully understand the cost implications of the Food and Nutrition Plan for SA 2017-2022.Strategic
Dr Jemina Moeng, Chief Director for Food Security: DAFF, stated this strategic objective is aimed at establishing inclusive local food value chains to support access to nutritious affordable food. Strategic Objective 2 is led by DAFF. Its greater focus is on raising the productivity of small holder producers as a way of increasing local access to nutritious foods. It states that access to nutritious, safe and affordable food is essential to reduce all forms of malnutrition. It is aimed at transforming rural economy for growth, poverty reduction, employment creation, and overcoming inequalities in SA. In terms of progress on institutional arrangements, the National Food and Nutrition Security Coordinating Committee was established in June 2017 to coordinate and maintain an effective and efficient food and nutrition security approach in the country. The Smallholder Forum was launched in July 2017 to structure collaboration with the wider sector beyond government towards strategic objective 2 and overall smallholder support.
With regard to protection, the area planted under Fetsa Tlala is 366 650 ha. The crop for this sector is 731 000 tons, which is 67,76 more than the 435 740 tons of last season. 18 farms of smallholder producers were certified for SA-GAP. 810 000 people are employed in this sector. This strategic objective is strengthening colleges of agriculture and centres of excellence for producer development, and DAFF and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) are engaged in talks regarding this matter. 2, 501, 200 households are involved in agriculture and 35 981 are involved in vegetable gardens. Operation Phakisa Agriculture was held in October 2016 and has developed 26 initiatives for promoting the development and support of smallholder producers.
Strategic Objective 3:
Mr Mondli Mbhele, Director for Food and Nutrition Security Programme: DSD, stated the intention of this objective is to expand targeted social protection measures and sustainable livelihood programmes. This strategic objective is led by the Department of Social Development.
On progress to date, an inter-sectoral working group with the Departments of Home Affairs, Health, and Social Development has been established to develop a rigorous registration strategy of infants at birth. The aim is to increase the number of children registered within 30 days at public health facilities from 70% in 2016 to 80% in 2019. A multi-sectoral technical working group with relevant government departments has been established to develop the national integrated social protection information system. 331 664 ECDs have been subsidised by DSD. 9 032 622 learners are provided with nutritious food through the National School Nutrition Programme. 20 619 schools are providing nutritious food to targeted PVMs. 138 056 people received food in Community and Nutrition Development Centres by Quarter 2 of 2017/18 financial year. Strategic
Dr Lynn Moeng, Chief-Director for Health Promotion, Nutrition and Oral Health: DoH, stated this objective is there to scale up high impact nutrition interventions targeting women, infants, and children. During the 2016/17 period, this intervention increased access and coverage of anthropometric screening for preventing and managing malnutrition (under-and over-nutrition) among learners in Quintile 1 and 2 schools. It targeted Grade 1 and 8 learners. Grade 1 increased by 33% while Grade 8 by 20%. 6 161 073 of learners are receiving deworming interventions in schools. Inpatient case fatality rate for children under five years with severe acute malnutrition has improved from 8, 2% to 7, 9% during Quarter 1 of 2017/18.
Strategic Objective 5:
This strategic objective is also led by the DoH. Its objective is to develop an integrated communication plan to influence people across the life cycle to make informed food and nutrition decisions. A draft FNS communication strategy has been developed and shared with the FNS committee. During October 2017, nutrition awareness campaigns focusing on reducing intake of sugary drinks and increasing water intake and healthy eating were conducted throughout the country. The nutrition guidelines for ECD programmes have been developed to improve provisioning of food and nutrition services in ECD programmes. 197 097 youth have been registered on the BE WISE MOBSITE which is an Interactive Application for delivering health and nutrition messages to the young.
Strategic Objective 6:
This strategic objective falls under DAFF. Its aim is to develop a monitoring and evaluation system for FNS, including an integrated risk management system for monitoring FNS related risks.
Dr Moeng said this strategic intervention saw the launch of the South African Vulnerability Assessment Committee (SAVAC) in 1999 with the aim of providing technical advice whilst creating a platform for technical discussions and synchronisation of data on people’s vulnerability towards a multi-sectoral approach to food security. SAVAC uses livelihood zones and a combination of household economy approach and food security continuum.
On vulnerability and poverty analysis, Livelihoods; Food and Nutrition Security Baseline Assessment Exercise in 14 Livelihood Zones have been completed in Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, and Free State. There is still a need to conclude 100 of the 119 baseline surveys in open, urban and exclusive zones. While other zones had low hunger levels and high access to social grants, they still experienced high malnutrition levels of children under 5 years
.Dr Ngomane also enlightened the Committee about the work done in costing the National Food and Nutrition Security Plan for SA 2017-2022. The DPME appointed an external service provider – DNA Economic and Cornerstone – to do the costing for the plan to enable government to fully understand the cost implications of the plan. Departments involved in the development of the plan have taken note of the unfavourable economic climate in the country and the fact that government has no additional resources for new priorities.
The overall costs for implementing the plan amount to R86,8 billion over the 5-year period from 2018/19 to 2022/23. Strategic Objective 2 is the biggest cost driver because it requires a total amount of R67,8 billion over the 5-year period. This translates to 78% of the costs of the entire plan.
Dr Ngomane then took the Committee through key issues the strategic objectives would be doing.
On Strategic Objective 1, a National FNS Council is required to provide oversight and make strategic decisions regarding the coordination of the numerous activities included in the plan. The Provincial and Local Councils are required to provide support to the National Council, and provide oversight and make strategic decisions regarding the coordination of the numerous activities included in the plan. Sector experts that work in these Councils should be willing to do so for an honorarium rather than full consultant rates. It is practical and advisable that all meetings be held at internal venues. This would minimise unnecessary expenditure.
Strategic Objective 2 is the major cost driver. The plan recognises the human resource requirement to provide support and it proposes doubling the number of extension officers employed over the NFNS Plan period. Reaching this goal would cost nearly R8,2 billion which represents 9, 2% of the costs of the plan and 12% of the costs of strategic objective 2. Key consideration is the consolidation of the various agricultural producer support programmes into a single function. This could contribute immensely to the effectiveness of support provided to smallholder producers in SA and potentially decrease costs. Although food security is the main objective, profitability is essential for the sustainability of the industry and decreasing the need for government support. Special focus would have to be paid to ensuring the affordability of feed and setting up operations so that the Food Conversion Ratio (FCR) is kept as low as possible. Smallholders are being recommended for audit even when they have very little chance of conforming to the criteria for SA-GAP within the allotted time. The reason for this could be that the extension officers are spread too thin or do not have the knowledge to accurately judge the readiness of a smallholder producer for certification. So, it is important to increase the number of extension officers employed and improve the agricultural colleges in order to improve the audit-certification ratio.
Concerning Strategic Objective 3, the costs of this strategic intervention are primarily driven by the expansion of the child grant coverage due to an improvement in its registration system and the expansion of the various meal programmes provided by government. This strategic intervention aims to implement a universal child support grant registration for all eligible children leading to an expansion of the coverage of the child grant, and to expand the coverage of the meal provision programmes at Community and Nutrition Development Centres, ECD Centres and schools. This represents 96, 8% of the costs of strategic objective 3.
Dr Ngomane said the first key consideration here is the early registration of children born in public facilities. The Departments of Health and Home Affairs would need to coordinate their efforts for this activity to be a success. The second key consideration is that of providing universal child grant registration. The realisation of this consideration is linked with the successful development of a system to register children born in public health facilities within the prescribed 30-day period. The option of giving universal access to the CSG to all children below the ages of 2 or 3 has the potential to remove the current administrative obstacles preventing access during this critical period in children's lives. A third key consideration is to develop an integrated social protection information system (ISPIS) to improve access to social assistance programmes. It is important the different departments all work together and coordinate their data collection, storage, and analysis efforts on ISPIS. It is recommended that the initial roll-out of the system amongst the first three departments (Health, Basic Education, and Social Development) be used as a pilot phase.
The last key consideration is to improve provision of nutritious meals through an expanded network of feeding and food distribution centres. The decision to keep school kitchens open on the weekends and during school holidays would go a long way to ensuring vulnerable children are able to regularly access meals outside of school periods. This may be a cost-effective means to reach these vulnerable children given the school kitchens are already established and staffed mostly by volunteers. The extent of this benefit may be curtailed in areas where children use scholar transport to get to school which would not be available over weekends and school holidays.
With regard to Strategic Objective 4, 97, 2% of the costs of this strategic intervention are related to the increasing coverage of Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation (MMNS). This is the largest cost driver because it entails the provision of deworming tablets and fortified porridge across the life course for undernourished infants and children, pregnant and lactating women, and people living with HIV and TB. The second largest cost driver of this strategic intervention is the goal to improve access and coverage of breastfeeding and complimentary feeding counselling.
Dr Ngomane stated the first key consideration is the training of health workers and food handlers. This entails the use of existing training material and internal capacity to either revise or develop new training materials. Much of this material exists or is part of key staff member and institutional knowledge. The second consideration is to increase the coverage of MMNS. The sponsorship of deworming tablets by Johnson & Johnson should be extended. The sponsorship might also be deepened to include children of all ages.
The third key consideration is to increase coverage of breastfeeding and feeding counselling. This entails the use of existing training material and internal capacity to either revise or develop new training materials. Much of this material exists or is part of key staff member and institutional knowledge. It is also feasible that existing internal capacity could be utilised to administer all training. The involvement of community health workers would be key to realising the desired outcomes.
The fourth consideration is the prevention and management of acute malnutrition. This entails the use of existing training material and internal capacity to either revise or develop new training materials. Much of this material exists or is part of key staff member and institutional knowledge. It is also feasible that existing internal capacity could be utilised to administer all training.
The fifth consideration is to improve the quality of noncommunicable disease (NCD) screening, assessment, counselling. This entails the use of existing training material and internal capacity to either revise or develop new training materials. Much of this material exists or is part of key staff member and institutional knowledge. It is also feasible that existing internal capacity could be utilised to administer all training. Costs for Strategic Objective 5 are driven by the implementation of the Food Security and Nutrition Advocacy and Communication Strategy. 88, 9% of the costs of this strategic intervention relate to its implementation, while the rest are due to the development, production and distribution of the education materials required for ECD Programmes.
The first key consideration is to develop and implement a Food Security & Nutrition Advocacy and Communication Strategy. It is important that marketing materials are customised to their specific target audiences. Marketing materials should not just emphasise the nutritional messages, but should also direct people towards the services offered by government and highlight the steps they could take to improve their nutrition. It is important for the plan to focus more on electronic billboards because they are easier to customise and catch the public eye. It is also important the plan incorporates points of review to assess the impact of the communication strategy.
The second consideration is to implement nutrition education at ECD centres and schools. This strategic intervention is affordable and its major cost drivers could be justified. The community health workers and ECD practitioners often operate in rural areas where the abilities to verbally explain and visually demonstrate key concepts are more effective teaching tools than written communication.
On Strategic Objective 6, the establishment of a team dedicated to the monitoring and evaluation of the NFNS Plan is essential for the general success of the NFNS Plan. The costs of this intervention comprise the establishment of an operating Monitoring and Evaluation Unit. The rest of the activities are related to the various M&E projects that would be required during the life-cycle of the NFNS Plan. The M&E Unit is essential for ensuring coordination and collaboration in government's approach to addressing FNS. The M&E Unit should become the custodian of FNS in SA.
Dr Ngomane emphasised the NFNS Plan would require an average increase in funding of 13, 7% over the 5-year period. The resource requirement is tremendous. The presentation of the costed plan would be presented to Cabinet for consideration and approval. Government and its social partners are approaching finalisation towards implementation of the national plan of food and nutrition security in an integrated manner. Smallholder farmer programmes are being redesigned and implemented as per the recommendations of impact evaluation reports. The SMME support needs better targeting and scaling.
(Tables and graphs were shown to illustrate food and nutritional status indicators; original 27 districts and expanded lists of districts; and aggregate costing estimates)
Progress on Operation Phakisa
Ms Rowena Joemat-Petterson, an official from DAFF, briefed the Committee on progress of the 27 Operation Phakisa Initiatives. In trying to implement the Phakisa methodology, they have appointed champions per initiative, submitted Lab Report to Cabinet, and are planning to have an Open Day.
The Open Day is a vital step to achieving mass alignment and buy-in for lab outcomes. It would be an interactive session where the public can interact with presenters at various stations (a minimum of 7) followed by a closed session. The closed session would be by invitation only, and would target 200 guests along with a media contingency. The Open Day would remain the prerogative of the Presidency. Champions have been appointed per initiative to review the final draft report. This was done in collaboration with work stream representatives and content leaders per work stream. Champions are to refine, align and translate 3-feet plans into project implementation plans stipulating roles and responsibilities, clearly spelt out budgets, and schedule of activities, etc.
DAFF is working on optimising the management of natural resources. The initiative of unlocking water to expand horticultural production seeks to establish a War Room within Presidency for improving the management and access to water through irrigation schemes. A meeting with role players was subsequently hosted through the DPME, and DAFF would return to Economic Sectors, Employment and Infrastructure Development (ESEID), with Terms of Reference stipulating roles and responsibilities and proposed delegated authority. This would be done after the Operation Phakisa report is approved by cabinet. The pooling of all irrigation funds between DAFF, DRDLR, DEA and DWS, towards the integrated plan for irrigation, would require 10% of the total allocation for the establishment of the “Presidential War Room”. MOUs between DAFF, DRDLR, DEA and DWS on the Terms of Reference of “Water War Room” have been signed.
On skills and capacity development, two initiatives were merged and they are aimed at developing SA’s first comprehensive farm worker and producer development programme. The public/private agri-skills initiative has been merged with the livestock skills and knowledge upgrading initiative. The Department is also extending the capacity of veterinary services in a multi-level coordinated approach; and is utilising improvements in livestock identification, movement control and traceability for improved disease surveillance and control. DAFF has established Ndimo Desk, which is a centralised, virtual platform to link producers to services offered by participating public and private sector institutions through various communication channels.
On funding and finance, financial partnerships for accelerated and sustainable land reform have been entered into. MOUs have been signed with the Land Bank, National Empowerment Fund (NEF) and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). This initiative seeks to mobilise the private sector to complement public funding sources to finance the land reform programmes of restitution, redistribution and tenure; to develop public-private sector funding models and financial instruments to provide for the acquisition and development of land on a medium to long-term mortgage and CPI-indexed linked annuity basis; and to foster a new and redefined win-win partnership between previous land owners and land reform beneficiaries that promotes continued production, increased employment, and social cohesion.
The agricultural development finance is being re-engineered. This has resulted in the development of blended financial instruments from public and private funds which are administered centrally in order to improve access and affordability of finance and lessen the current reliance on grants. Draft policy on Comprehensive Producer Development Support (CPDS) forms the policy framework for the initiative.
A more comprehensive concept document was finalised and forms the basis of engagements with the key role players such as the Land Bank. A pilot between the Eastern Cape Department of Agriculture, the Land Bank and DAFF, is underway where the Land Bank provides the loan and bridging finance to the farming operation and the Department provides additional financial support with the grants. The Re-engineering Development Finance is financed through CASP.
Ms Joemat-Petterson spoke of the value chain development and market access. The provision of access to commercial and alternative livestock value chains is aimed at organising local farmers into an aggregation entity e.g. cooperative to buy feed in bulk; transactions would be between feed suppliers and aggregation entity; feed supplier would be delivered to a central place; feed would be supplied in bags to facilitate distribution. 60% of the average CASP budget spent on Livestock per province would be committed to finance this initiative. DAFF met with several key organisations and companies with the possible outputs to explore models to improve access and affordability of feed to smallholder farmers; to provide and facilitate access for follow up deliberations with feed suppliers; and push for direct purchase of weaners/cattle from smallholder farmers and custom feeding. DAFF has signed agreements with SACOTA, AFMA and Karan Beef and PDAs.
She further mentioned the Department is working on an inclusive horticulture value chain participation model that would accelerate the participation of black role players in the whole horticulture value chain, resulting in optimum profitability and inclusive growth. 60% of the average CASP budget spent on horticulture per province would be committed to finance this initiative. An MOU with Citrus and Deciduous Growers Association has been signed.
Concerning coordination and knowledge management, strategic leadership and coordination of Rural Development Plans are aimed at rural development for structural transformation. This would be achieved through vertical and horizontal strengthened coordination of planning, implementation, reporting, monitoring and evaluation of programmes across all spheres of government; and regular convening of all stakeholder representatives in structured information sharing, joint analysis and planning processes that ensures monitoring and accountability. The Draft RDA policy has been completed and would be submitted. The draft Bill on the National Rural Development Agency would be ready by December 2017.
The National Agricultural Decent Work Programme and the strengthening of legal compliance mechanisms are initiatives aimed to strengthen the compliance to Labour Laws (esp. LRA, Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), SDA13, OHS, the Agri-BEE Charter and EEA) of commercial farmers, emerging farmers and agri-business owners. This is to eliminate human rights violations towards Agri-farm workers and farm dwellers. The initiative is to develop and implement a Decent Work Programme for the Agricultural Sector.
Ms Joemat-Petterson, about reconfiguring space and promoting functional rural settlement, maintained the Department is focusing on an Accelerated Land Development and Redistribution Initiative (ALDRI). This initiative entails government buying up agricultural zoned land in peri-urban areas around town.
ALDRI proposes a target of 579 150 units to be developed over 5 years and allocated to Category 1 and 2 smallholder farmers, as well as the urban landless and jobless people living in peri-urban areas and rural informal settlements. The DRDLR internal budget is to be utilised to develop an integrated Land, Labour and Housing solution. In trying to promote and protect rights of persons living under insecure tenure and promoting farm worker house and land ownership programme, syndication has been done with other initiatives namely: ALDRI, Labour Farm worker house and land ownership programme, Basic Services and Funding and finance. This is currently done with various departments and private sector. A model of smart Agri-villages is being finalised. The Development Bank of SA (DBSA)’s cost estimate for the five years is R14 billion. It was noted the DBSA was a participant at the Operation Phakisa lab on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.
Ms A Steyn (DA) asked for clarity on the required R8, 2 billion required to reach Strategic Objective 2 goals. She also wanted to know if an increase in the agricultural budget to support the hungry in specific areas does decrease hunger in those affected areas.
Dr J Moeng (DAFF) explained that the R8, 2 billion is informed by the fact that they require human resource to provide support and they propose to double the number of extension officers from 3 500 to 6 500. Strategic Objective 2 has various activities, of which 6 require additional funding. On the issue of increased budget to provinces for fighting poverty, she stated they done a small exercise. At the moment, R8, 6 billion has been allocated to DAFF, including the provincial equitable share. It is hard to reach everyone targeted. They need to address food wastage because most food, not only the harvested one, goes to waste. People need to be educated to dish up portions they could eat.
Mr A Madella (ANC) welcomed the intention of the plan to create more employment opportunities, especially for extension officers and health inspectors. His concern was around the costs not provided for the establishment of the Food and Nutrition Security Councils because he feared the local government would not want to interfere.
Dr Moeng stated the whole thing is work in progress. The first proposal for costs was more than R100 million. The breakdown was meant to address that meetings be done at district levels.
Mr N Capa (ANC) wanted to know what is going to be done about situations where a child has no identity document. He also asked if there were any guarantees that the grants given to children would not be used for something else, and he commented that nothing was said about changing the attitude of the officials of the Department of Social Development.
Mr Mbhele said there is an integration programme for children without documents. This phenomenon is in the borders of the country, especially in the area around Musina. The Child Support Grant helps in situations like those which are sporadic. This is common among foreign citizens and they are required by law to get relief grant. On the better management of grants, the grants cushion the poor and the vulnerable households against poverty. He admitted there are instances where it is misused and, unfortunately, there is nothing they could do about that. He noted the point raised about changing the attitude of the officials.
Mr M Filtane (UDM) asked what the terms of references are for the Multi-Sectoral Council. He also wanted to know if the inclusion of new graduates has been considered in these councils. He further wanted to find out if the communication strategy of the FNSP is good enough to compete with social media which is big because billboards do not appear to be doing a good job, especially in rural areas where literacy levels are low. He commented that in the last 15 years SA has been battling to find a Black African rugby lock-forward because the argument has been that African children are stunted and the situation is getting worse.
Dr Ngomane, on terms of references of the council, said they would be forwarded to the Committee in writing because they were not part of the presentation, but have been submitted to the Office of the President.
Dr L Moeng (DoH) admitted that African children are affected by stunting. The causes are complex. Poverty contributes to stunting and it could be that most African children are not exposed to multi-diets. It takes generations to improve stunting. There are many issues that contribute to stunted growth like hygiene, micro-nutrient deficiencies, maternal health, etc. Regarding the communication strategy, the proposed strategy is comprehensive and is making use of social media.
Dr J Moeng (DAFF) said they have taken the advice of considering new graduates and the secondment of officials to serve in the structures of these Multi-Sectoral Councils.
Mr P Maloyi (ANC) wanted to know how often the implementation team meets and how it is monitored because the NFSP has good ideas and plans, but the problem with such programmes is implementation. He also asked if alternative funding models besides fiscus have been looked at because many departments are crying not having enough money to implement programmes. The sector experts that work with the Councils should be obtained internally. If they are sourced from outside, then that means additional money that is not there. People who have been in the Department for a long time could be shifted around to do that work.
Dr J Moeng replied the implementing teams meet monthly while the technical committees meet quarterly. For frequency of information they are always in contact with Stats SA which conducts surveys every year. For alternative funding they are going to look at opportunities to get financial support from other sources.
Mr N Paulsen (EFF) commented it appears the NFSP focus more on rural areas whereas the urbanites are always hard hit. The plan should also consider the urban areas and consult with the people who are going to be affected by the policy. He further remarked it is important to look at how the curriculum of agricultural education is designed. The country is failing in agriculture because it is not taught in schools and the Department of Higher Education and Training excludes it. It is important to look at how it is taught because it contributes 12% to the GDP. The country needs proper agricultural education programmes.
Mr W Maphanga (ANC) asked for clarity on the 2019 target to reduce stunting by 10%.
Dr Ngomane stated the target is part of the MTSF and forms part of Outcome 2 of the government.
The Chairperson commented that food safety is not captured adequately by the environmental health practitioners on what people must consume. The plan must help people understand the right things they are supposed to eat. For example, in a case of a rotten apple or tomato, people tend to cut out the rotten part and eat the part that looks good although the whole thing is poisonous. She asked if there are any interactions with National Treasury even though there is no money. Lastly, she remarked that labelling is another area that needs attention.
Ms Aneliswa Cele, Director for Environmental Health: DoH, stated they have serious capacity challenges regarding environmental health practitioners. There is a shortfall of 3000. One practitioner handles many things, not food safety only. The Ministry of Health does not have direct control of the service unless the Health Act could be amended.
Dr L Moeng added that a full presentation on food safety could be done for the Committee through the Task Team. She also reported that they are looking at improving labelling to be user-friendly for consumers.
Dr J Moeng, on Treasury interactions, said they do engage with National Treasury in the context of budget management, but the Department shall be guided by the Cabinet decision regarding the NFSP.
Dr Ngomane stated the recommendations and comments from the Committee would be forwarded to the Task Team because the focus has been on the food security programme.
(The Committee could not interact with the progress report on Operation Phakisa due to time constraints)
The meeting was adjourned.