ATC100412: Report on Budget Vote No 25

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES ON BUDGET VOTE NO 25, DATED 12 APRIL 2010

 

The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, having considered budget vote 25, reports as follows:

 

1.                   INTRODUCTION

The Constitution of South Africa (Act No. 108 of 1996) recognises that the Legislative Authority has an important role to play in overseeing the performance of departments and public entities.  

 

It is important for the Committee to ensure that strategic plans are tabled within the stipulated period because the plans provide information for the budget review process of the Portfolio Committee.

 

Upon referral of these instruments by the National Assembly, the Committee scheduled extended briefing sessions with the Department and the entities to present their budgets and strategic plans for the ensuing financial year.    

 

On Tuesday, the 16th of March 2010, the Committee completed the budget hearings process of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and all entities reporting to the Committee.

 

2.                   DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,  FORESTRY AND FISHERIES 

The Committee acknowledges the Department’s presentation, and would require follow-up engagements with the Department on the following:- Land Bank, Land Reform and related entities, as this would help to enhance its understanding of operations and monitor their performance.

 

Committee Recommendations

The Committee welcomed both the proposed budget allocations and the strategic plan presented. The Committee further encouraged the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to put more resources, human and financial, on the following:

·         To promote commercial production by graduating small scale farmers.

·         To do a follow-up on land reform.

·         Provide proper training and skills development for subsistence and production farmers. 

·         To limit reliance on contractors and to increase recruitment of well trained staff.

To assist households in improving food production and resource management

Upon the transfer of fisheries to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which took effect on the 1st of April 2010, as gazetted, the Committee would engage extensively with the Department on the fisheries component matter.

 

2.1               NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL MARKETING COUNCIL (NAMC)

The NAMC strategic objectives:

a)       To enhance market access for all market participants.

b)       To promote efficiency in the marketing of agricultural products.

c)       To optimise export earnings from agricultural products and increase the viability of the agricultural sector.

 

Challenges:

a)       NAMC Operations are limited by the provisions of the Marketing Act and by the insufficient budget and its mandate which defines its advisory roles.

b)       Input costs continue to be a factor towards food prices and Marketing, thereby rendering local product uncompetitive.

 

Committee Recommendations

a)         The committee noted that NAMC had embarked on a process of designing Marketing and Development Schemes, which included the Vineyard Development Scheme, Red Meat Scheme, Lucerne Development Scheme and Grain Crops Development Scheme.

b)         It is suggested that NAMC look at the possibility of reviving the cotton market.

 

The budget for the 2010/11 financial year is R32 494 000 and it is anticipated to be R39 908 000 in the 2012/13 financial year. NAMC reported that an amendment to the Marketing Act, can lead to improvement in the financial requirement of the agricultural sector.

 

2.2       Agricultural Research Council

Objectives

a)         To improve management processes

b)         To strengthen ARC linkages with external sources of knowledge

c)         To improve quality and relevance of research outputs

d)         To focus on transformation

e)         Partnerships – reorientation of Research & Development agenda for developmental needs of the poor

 

Challenges:

The ARC raised the issue of funding with the Committee and indicated that it required a minimum of R300 million to fulfil its mandate adequately. The Parliamentary Grant had only increased by 6%, and within this allocation the ARC had to accommodate inflation and other limitations it faced.
 

Committee Recommendations

a)       ARC was advised to look at retired staff especially scientists and researchers with the view to retain their services and involving them in mentorship programmes.

b)       The ARC was advised to conduct research with the view to developing products to address the challenges posed by climate change.

c)       The Committee proposed that the ARC should play a leading role in the coordination of all research institutions in the field of agriculture, forestry and fisheries so as to prevent fragmented endeavours.

 

2.3               PERISHABLE PRODUCTS EXPORT CONTROL BOARD  

Objectives

a)       Enhancing the Credibility of the SA Export Certificate

b)       Support the Export Competitiveness of SA Perishable Industries

c)       PPECB as a Credible Source of Strategic information  for Serving Industries and Stakeholders

d)       Support Government in ensuring confidence in quality assurance and food safety systems for local Perishable product markets

e)       Support government in building systems to ensure compliance to SA quality and Food Safety Standards for Imported products.

 

Challenges:

Private Companies and Retailers set their own standards and demand that farmers should adhere to them, which increases the cost burden while it is the Government’s duty to negotiate standards.

 

Committee Recommendations

a)       Since there is a large amount of legislation impacting in various forms on the Industry, the Department must look at all of them and propose amendment or repeal where necessary.

b)       PPECB should report on the failed projects.

 

2.4       ONDERSTEPOORT BIOLOGICAL PRODUCT (OBP)  

OBP exists in helping to prevent and control animal diseases that impact on food security, human health and livelihoods.

Objectives

a)       Profitability

b)       Human Capital

c)       Marketing and service delivery

d)       Innovation and becoming a recognised centre of scientific excellence

 

Challenges:

a)       OBP lacks sufficient space for the storage of vaccines and utilises Bayers and their storage facilities.

b)       The outbreak of Rift Valley Fever demonstrated that Provinces failed to react timeously for such eventualities that compound the problem.

c)       Provinces continue not to procure OBP products and services.

 

Committee Recommendations

a)       OBP must develop their own capacity for storage of vaccines and their distribution.

b)       Provincial Governments must be called upon to support OBP. 

 

3.         CONCLUSION

 

Having considered the budget and strategic / business plans of the Department and entities, the committee concludes by reiterating its position that:   

·         The Budget allocated is not sufficient as it does not meet the 2003 African Union Maputo Declaration which stipulates that Agriculture should account for 10% of the total National budget.  Currently DAFF accounts for 0,4% translated to R3 657 984 000.  

·         Subsistence farmers must be assisted towards graduating into commercial producers.

·         There is a need for DAFF to collaborate more with the rural development, Land reform and other partners in its quest to secure food for all.

·         Many pieces of legislation that are administered and those that are outside of DAFF but have relevance to Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, call for amendment and overhaul with the view to streamlining and making their   enforcement as user friendly to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries sector.

 

 

Report to be considered.

 

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