Interaction with Departments of Trade & Industry & Agriculture on Report on Study Tour to Malaysia

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Meeting report


6 NOVEMBER 2002 

Chairperson: Rev P Moatshe (ANC North-West)

Please note: These minutes were prepared by the Committee Secretary, Mr Keith Williams


The Chairperson opened the meeting and welcomed members and guests.
Briefing by Mr S Moodliar of DTI:
Mr Moodliar briefed the Committee on the Integrated Manufacturing Strategy, which is the DTI's contribution to a vision for the South African economy.  He also dealt with the strategy of aggressively supporting co-operatives and mentioned points of concurrence between the DTI's strategies and the recommendations of the study tour report (see Appendix 1).
Input by Ms Z Ndaba (DTI) on the Community Private Public Partnership (CPPP) Programme:
Ms Ndaba showed a video of some of the projects supported by this programme.  Particularly impressive was the growing of pineapples in the Peddie region of the Eastern Cape.
Ms Indaba stressed that with these projects, the community's interest was put first.  The community was given ownership of the project and jobs were created.
After a project was undertaken, the aim was sustainable growth and there would be an attempt to replicate a successful project in another locality.
Financial support would be provided to service providers and would come from private enterprise and the Development Bank.
An informational folder on CPPP and a copy of the Annual Review was placed at the disposal of the Committee Secretary.
Input by Mr L Mabombo of NDA:
Mr Mabombo pointed out that the NDA considered that co-operatives were the way to go, and, for the purpose of organising these, had set up two new directorates viz. Agri-Business Directorate and a Directorate for Financing Support Structures.
The Department was aiming at increased PDI involvement, but there were challenges in that the strategy of support needs to be reviewed and co-operators must be thoroughly trained.  They must also own the project in full.
Corruption amongst the upper level of co-operators must be controlled and other members must understand their role in this.  Financing mechanisms must not entrench dependency.  To this end, while village banks have been established for support, the co-operatives must ensure that they finance their own inputs.
The co-operative must serve as an incubator for emerging farmers, and successful farmers must be encouraged to leave viable co-operatives and go out on their own.
With respect to the other recommendations of the study tour report, Mr Mabombo pointed out that the Department was working on a vision for Agriculture in 20 years time.
The approach to Agro-Tourism differed from province to province depending on how closely the provincial departments of agriculture and tourism co-operated.  On the national level, there was a need for the two national departments to unify their strategy in this important field.
Two sub-committees have been set up by NDA in order to exploit co-operation with the Malaysian Technical Co-operation Programme to the full.  A written document on this should be available soon.
Input by Mr P Ngobese of NDA:
Mr Ngobese pointed out that the Malaysian developmental model could be utilised for black economic empowerment in South Africa.  A directorate had been set up to implement recommendations of a commission looking into this matter.
Agricultural sectors with high growth potential were being identified for further development.
Aquaculture was noted as an important growth source, and a directorate was being set up to ensure full development here.  NDA will take over this important field in future.
Funding must be sought for the development of Agro-Technology Parks in future.
Women's groups are being encouraged, and the Female Farmer of the Year competition is a breeding ground for women entrepreneurs.  Groups of PDIs receive special attention in this regard.  A South African Breweries sponsored programme for the development of rural women will be handed over to NDA for management and control.
Response to questions:
In response to questions from members of the Committee, department officials raised the following points:
Members of the Committee should attempt to visit provincial development corporations which were set up to sensitise people at grassroots level to the possibility of developing themselves.
An aggressive approach to supporting co-operatives would be followed.  The Committee could monitor pilot projects in this regard.  When visiting the provinces, the Committee should get as much information as is possible from NDA on projects to be visited.
NDA and DTI have done much research on what products are suitable for certain areas and are needed at particular markets.  This knowledge must filter down to the grassroots.  To this end, extension officers have to be retrained to disseminate information and to assist emerging farmers with marketing and other aspects.
Farmer-to-farmer support must be encouraged and farmers' unions must take the lead here.
Irrigation schemes in the former Homelands need to be rehabilitated.
It is important that the Committee notifies the Department of Agriculture before visiting the provinces.
It was suggested that the Committee could visit DTI.  Access to projects could be improved by utilising local government.  DTI would make information packages available to MPs in order for them to utilise during provincial visits.
Beneficiation of commodities like pineapples was essential to guard against price fluctuations.  DTI was working on this and also looking for market access for the processed commodity.
Khula and Ntsika have not been set up to provide services directly to enterprises and communities.  Rather, they work through service providers like NGOs.  Information on which NGOs had received money from these organisations would be provided to the Committee.
DTI stressed that its main goal was not poverty alleviation as such, but the stimulation of economic potential.
The Chairperson was unsatisfied with the response on Khula and Ntsika, especially with respect to the North-West Province.  He met with officials from DTI after the meeting to discuss this matter further.
DTI undertook to make information packages available to the Committee before the end of term on 15 November 2002.
Members of the Committee undertook to interact more closely with NDA and DTI in future.
Members advised the departments not to emphasise private ownership at the expense of social programmes.
The Chairperson thanked members and guests for their attendance and adjourned the meeting.


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