ATC150508: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on the Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plan and the Budget of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Vote 24) and its Entities, dated 08 May 2015
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on the Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plan and the Budget of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Vote 24) and its Entities, dated 08 May 2015.
The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries examined Budget Vote 24: Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries including the Annual Performance Plan of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (hereinafter referred to as DAFF or the Department) for the 2015/16 financial year, along with the revised Strategic Plan for the period, 2015/16 to 2019/20 and budget projections for the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period. During the process, the Portfolio Committee also examined the Strategic Plans, associated Annual Performance Plans (APPs) and Budgets for the MTEF period of the following DAFF Public Entities:
- Marine Living Resources Fund (MLRF)
- Agricultural Research Council (ARC)
- National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC)
- Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP)
- Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB)
- South African Veterinary Council (SAVC)
Having considered the Strategic Plans, APPs and Budget Vote 24 (includes the Department and its entities), the Committee reports as follows:
In terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), 1999 (Act No. 1 of 1999), the Executive Authority together with the Accounting Officers must provide Parliament or the relevant legislature with their respective institution’s Medium-Term Strategic Plan (MTSP) and, where applicable, with its APP. The Strategic Plans, APPs and Budgets of DAFF and four of its Entities were tabled in Parliament on 11 March 2015. All the tabled plans were referred to the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for consideration and report. In performing its constitutional mandate, the Committee considered the Strategic Plans and APPs (2015/16) of DAFF and its Entities taking into account their alignment with the following policy mandates:
- The National Development Plan (NDP);
- Medium Term Strategic Framework’ s key Government priority outcomes;
- The New Growth Path (NGP);
- State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA);
- Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP);
- The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Strategic Framework; and
- The Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP).
The above serve as Government’s fundamental programmes of action for the medium term strategic period and in the long term. The Committee, in considering the Department and its Entities’ Strategic Plans and Budget Vote, wanted to determine whether the funds that are allocated to the Department and its entities through different programmes translate to actual service delivery, particularly in rural and underserviced areas. In this regard, the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, 2009 (Act No. 9 of 2009), grants Parliament the power to reject, recommend or amend budgets of departments and entities.
2. The National Policy Mandates
DAFF’s strategic goals and associated objectives have been revised in the medium term in response to the objectives and targets of the National Development Plan, the New Growth Path and the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) 2014-2019; and are also informed by the Department’s own Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Strategic Framework and the Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP).
2.1 The National Development Plan (NDP)
The NDP’s overarching aim is to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. The Plan recognises that South Africa needs an inclusive economy that is more dynamic and in which the fruits of growth are shared equitably amongst its citizens. Agriculture is identified in the NDP as one of the key sectors through which increased employment and poverty alleviation can be achieved. In this regard, approximately 1 million new jobs and a trade surplus are expected to be created from agriculture, agroprocessing and related sectors by 2030. The NDP’s focus is on smallholder farmers and it is expected that the 1 million new jobs target can be achieved by expanding irrigated agriculture. The Makhathini Flats and Umzimvubu River Basin have been specifically identified for the development of irrigation infrastructure. The NDP further expects that a third (33%) of the food surplus should be produced by smallscale farmers or households by 2030.
2.2 Medium Term Strategic Framework 2014 – 2019 (MTSF)
For each Government priority outcome, the MTSF sets out specific targets for various sectors and government Ministries that should be achieved by 2019. The MTSF sets out the following service delivery targets inter alia, which are linked to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries:
- All APAP sector and crosscutting interventions to be implemented by 2019. Department to report annually on implementation including review and extension of plans.
- 95% implementation of an Agricultural, Forestry and Fisheries Trade and Marketing Strategy by 2019. Annually, the Department needs to report on the implementation of the Strategy.
- 95% implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) by 2019. Annually, the Department needs to report on the implementation of the investment plans.
- 300 000 smallholder producers producing for markets by 2019.
- 1.6 million households benefitting from Food and Nutrition Security initiatives by March 2019, i.e. 4.3 million people of the 13.8 million that were food insecure in 2014.
- 1 million hectares of underutilised land in communal areas developed and under production by March 2019.
- Policies promoting the development and support of smallholder producers implemented by March 2019.
- An additional 1 250 hectares of land under irrigation for smallholder production by March 2019.
- An additional 300 000 smallholder producers receiving support for production efficiencies by March 2019.
- By March 2013, 4 million hectares of transferred land (4 860 farms) was underutilised, therefore, approximately 3 million hectares of land transferred through land reform should be utilised by March 2019.
- Hundred per cent development and implementation of the Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP) by March 2019.
- Develop, resource and implement Agricultural Value Chain interventions (SIP 11) by 2019.
- 152 500 hectares of forestry areas should be under rehabilitation and/or restoration by March 2019.
- Status reports on resource status for abalone (31% above pre-fished stock by 2019), West Coast rock lobster (26% above the 2006 level by 2019) and deep-water hake (30% of pre-fished biomass by 2019).
- Climate change adaptation plans for the 5 sectors developed by 2019.
- Climate change response to reduce risks and vulnerability in the 3 sectors (Agricultural and Commercial Forestry, Biodiversity and ecosystems, water) by 2019.
2.3 The New Growth Path (NGP) and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP)
The NGP is a national framework for economic policy and the driver of the country’s job strategy. Its aim is to target the country’s limited capital and capacity at activities that maximise the creation of decent work opportunities through macro and micro economic policies in order to create a favourable overall environment and to support more labour-absorbing activities. The main indicators of success will be jobs (the number and quality of jobs created), growth (the rate, labour intensity and composition of economic growth), equity (lower income inequality and poverty) and environmental outcomes. The NGP proposes strategies to:
- Deepen the domestic and regional markets by growing employment, increasing incomes and undertaking other measures to improve quality and income distribution; and
- Widen the market for South African goods and services through a stronger focus on exports to the region and other rapidly growing economies.
The NGP identified agriculture as one of the key job drivers with the potential to create 145 000 jobs in agroprocessing and to place 300 000 households in agricultural smallholder schemes by 2020. Jobs are expected through smallholder schemes in industrial products and forestry; fruit and wine exports; and extension services for the smallholder sector. The NGP also recognises that the sector has the potential to improve the living conditions of the approximately 660 000 farm workers through upgrading of employment in commercial farms by 2020.
The IPAP is informed by the NDP’s country vision and is framed by and constitutes a key pillar of the NGP. The overriding goal of the IPAP is to prevent industrial decline and support the growth and diversification of South Africa’s manufacturing sector. The IPAP emphasises the development and expansion of agroprocessing for the entire value chain in all three sectors (i.e. agriculture, forestry and fisheries). The focus for agriculture is food processing; for forestry it is paper, sawmills, timber and furniture making; and for fisheries it is aquaculture development and processing.
2.4 The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Strategic Framework and the Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP)
The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Strategic (AFFS) Framework, formerly called the Integrated Growth and Development Plan (IGDP) was developed in response to the Government Priority Outcomes that relate to job creation, rural development and food security, to which DAFF contributes. Its primary purpose is to achieve the transformation and restructuring of the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors that are currently dominated by a small number of large companies, and to ensure that constraints experienced in the areas of input supply, production and marketing are addressed cost-effectively and in a timely manner.
The Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP) was developed in 2013 and finalised in 2014 to serve as an implementation arm of the AFFS Framework. The APAP is planned over a five-year period and will be updated on an annual basis. Its encompassing objectives are to promote labour absorption and broaden market participation; implement strategic interventions that are aimed at increasing value-chain efficiencies and competitiveness focusing on selected subsectors and/or value chains.
2.5 The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)
2.5.1 Strategic Goals and Objectives of the Department
The strategic goals and objectives of the DAFF are grounded in the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for 2014 - 2019.
1.1 Strengthen compliance with statutory requirements and good governance practices.
1.2 Strengthen the support, guidance and interaction with stakeholders.
1.3 Strengthen institutional mechanisms for integrated policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation in the sector.
2.1 Ensure increased production and productivity in prioritised areas as well as value chains.
2.2 Effective management of biosecurity and sector related risks.
2.3 Ensure support for market access and processing for agriculture, forestry and fisheries products.
3.1 Lead and coordinate government food security initiatives.
3.2 Strengthen planning, implementation and monitoring of comprehensive support programmes.
3.3 Enhance skills capacity for efficient delivery in the sector.
4.1 Ensure the conservation, protection, rehabilitation and recovery of depleted and degraded natural resources.
4.2 Ensure adaptation and mitigation to climate change through effective implementation of prescribed frameworks.
The four strategic goals (SGs) are aligned with the Government Priority Outcomes to which the Department contributes, namely:
- Outcome 4: Decent employment through inclusive economic growth (SG 2);
- Outcome 7: Vibrant, equitable, sustainable rural communities contributing towards food security for all (SG 3);
- Outcome 10: Protect and enhance our environmental assets and natural resources (SG 4); and
- Outcome 12: An efficient, effective and development-oriented public service (SG 1).
3. Consideration of the Strategic Plans, Annual Performance Plans (APPs)
and Budgets of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and its Entities
3.1 Briefing by the Auditor General of South Africa (AGSA) on the APP and Budget
of the Department
The AGSA presentation focused on the Audit of Predetermined Objectives and tested the SMART principle on the Department’s Annual Performance Plan (APP) for 2015/16 financial year.
In assessing the APP of the Department, the AG noted that little effort is put by the Department in setting strategic objectives and related targets. It was reported that more often than not, the financial information does not correlate with performance information and service delivery. The main issues was measurability of targets and unavailability of source documents and examples were made of the Department’s Programmes 3 (Food Security and Agrarian Reform), Programme 5 (Forestry and Natural Resources Management) and Programme 6 (Fisheries Management), whose targets are not measurable and the indicators not verifiable. The AG mentioned that the Department should also breakdown personnel costs according to Programmes. The AG further advised that the Committee should note that the MTSF Outcome 4 (decent employment through inclusive economic growth), Outcome 7 (vibrant, equitable, sustainable rural communities contributing towards food security) and Outcome 10 (protect and enhance environmental assets and natural resources) to which the Department also contributes, are not fully reported and clearly aligned in the APP.
3.2 Briefing by the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) on the Department’s Strategic Plan, APP and Budget over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework
The FFC highlighted that the Department’s budget over the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF) period from 2015/16 to 2017/18 saw an average annual decline of 5.2 per cent. The decline was reportedly due to Cabinet-approved reductions amounting to R158 million in 2015/16, R210 million in 2016/17 and R200 million in 2017/18. The reduction were in the areas of compensation of employees, goods and services and conditional grants. In the case of conditional grants, the FFC highlighted that the reductions were due to underspending and the build-up of reserves/surpluses. Main reasons for underspending of conditional grants were reportedly poor planning, contractor challenges, late changes to business plans and weak and ineffective procurement processes. The FFC reported that the budget decline will have a marked impact on conditional grants and implementation of various strategic priorities of the Department. The FFC highlighted effective intergovernmental coordination, which is still lacking, to achieve optimal grant performance.
The FFC also reported that the Department in the 2013/14 financial year, spent 99% of its budget and achieved approximately 75% of its targets; and despite this low ratio, the number of targets for the 2015/16 financial year increased by 40% when the budget has decreased by 4% when compared to 2013/14. The FFC raised a concern that the disproportionate size between the budget decrease and number of targets suggest that DAFF may need to reassess whether it is in a position to achieve all its targets given the available resources.
3.3 Committee Deliberations on AGSA and FFC Presentations
The Committee welcomed the information that was provided by the AG and FFC on the Strategic Plan, APP and Budget of the Department. The Committee raised a serious concern that the Department continues to focus on achieving targets without taking into account or assessing the impact on service delivery. The underspending on grants remains a great concern to the Committee as the reasons reported related to poor planning by the Department and/or Provinces, as well as lack of coordination between the two spheres of Government. The Committee noted that the issues raised by AG and FFC were raised and discussed with the Department in previous engagements. The Committee acknowledged that there is a need for strengthened oversight and collaboration with other Committees to address cross-cutting issues for example, between different departments such as DAFF and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR). The Committee further agreed that there is a need to understand climate change impacts on the sector and requested that the FFC should provide a full briefing to the Committee on their study on Household Vulnerability to Climate Change Disasters.
3.4 Briefing by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on the Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP), its Strategic Plan, APP and Budget
3.4.1 The Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP)
The Director-General (DG) of the Department, Prof Edith Vries, presented a brief overview of the APAP. She mentioned that the APAP forms the basis of the vision that was outlined in the 2014 State of the Nation Address (SONA), which identified nine priorities for economic growth. Among those is the revitalisation of agriculture and the agro-processing value chain, which the APAP addresses. The DG further mentioned that an Integrated Funding Model is being developed in collaboration with DRDLR to create a common database that will reduce duplication and ensure synergy in the implementation of various programmes and projects within the APAP.
The DG also mentioned that if all goes as planned, the policy could potentially increase the number of smallholder producers from 164 000 in 2012 to 400 500,00 by 2019; increase value addition of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (AFF) from R42.5 billion in 2012 to R48.9 billion in 2019 (or 2% real growth per year); increase in the value of AFF net exports from an annual average of R5.1 billion in 2012 to R5.8 billion in 2019 (or 2% real growth per year); decrease in value of diesel, fertiliser and machinery imports at an annual average of R9.6 billion in 2012 to R7.4 billion (or 3% real decline per year); reduce in the share of households experiencing hunger from 10.8% of households in 2012 to 8% of households in 2019 and increase in number of jobs in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries from 660 000 average for 2012 to 822 500 (an additional 162 500 jobs) and a potential 1 million jobs created by 2030.
3.4.2 The Department’s Strategic Plan and APP
The DG provided an overview of the Department’s strategic outcome oriented goals and objectives, objective statements per programme and APP and targets for the financial year, 2015/16. Over the medium term, the Department reported that it will focus on increasing food security, creating decent jobs in all three sectors and increase contribution of these sectors to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The focus is informed by the NDP’s broad vision of eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030, and the activities will contribute to outcome 4 (decent employment through inclusive economic growth), outcome 7 (comprehensive rural development and land reform), and outcome 10 (protect and enhance our environmental assets and natural resources) of Government’s 2014-2019 medium term strategic framework (MTSF).
The Department plans to promote food security by supporting food producers through inputs such as farm equipment, fencing, fertilisers and seedlings. The Department will also refurbish and build Government irrigation schemes. The aim is to increase irrigated agricultural land from 1.5 million hectares in 2014/15 by at least an additional 750 000 hectares over the medium term. Fetsa Tlala, Government’s 2012-2017 food security strategy, encourages smallholder farmers to produce food for subsistence consumption. With funds of R834.8 million over the medium term reprioritised to Fetsa Tlala from the infrastructure conditional allocation in the Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP), the Department aims to increase the number of hectares of land under productive use to 375 000 hectares by 2017/18. This reprioritisation represents the shift in farmers’ needs from infrastructure to production inputs as food security becomes a priority. The allocation of R1.5 billion for Ilima/Letsema over the medium term will also be made available for support to smallholder farmers through Fetsa Tlala.
The Department’s APAP promotes job creation in farming, fishing and agro-processing, aiming to create 1 million decent jobs by 2030. The LandCare programme is projected to create 2 400 full time jobs by rehabilitating 90 000 hectares of land over the medium term, and 7 200 jobs by planting 2 300 hectares per year over the period to refurbish industrial plantations and community woodlots. The programme is allocated R209 million over the medium term for this work, which includes reducing the spread of invasive alien plants, fencing agricultural land and protecting it against degradation, conserving water resources, and combating the loss of topsoil. The expanded public works programme (EPWP)’s Working for Fisheries projects, under the Marine Living Resources Fund, are expected to create 1 693 job opportunities in the fisheries sector. Previously this programmes have been able to contribute almost 50 000 jobs (CASP: 9 932, Ilima/ Letsema: 16 948, Land Care: 4 973, Mafisa: 16 080).
Increasing the contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
The Department will provide extension services (farming advice) and financial support to smallholder farmers through a projected R7 billion conditional allocation to provinces over the medium term. Access to financial resources for smallholder farmers will be expanded through an allocation of R50 million in 2016/17 to the Land Bank’s Retail Emerging Markets (REM) Programme, which aims to support 5 593 black emerging farmers through low interest loans. In addition, the Department will introduce the primary animal health care programme to support the health of smallholder farmers’ animals.
The Department is involved in numerous small infrastructure projects in various stages of completion, including boreholes for smallholder farmers at a cost of R200 million over the medium term, and fences for foot-and-mouth disease in priority areas at a cost of R250 million. The spending on combating foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) will help to improve South Africa’s FMD-free status and maintain the lift on ban on exporting red meat. It will include providing access to vaccines to increase livestock production and assistance to smallholder farmers to produce healthy livestock suitable for export. Of the Department’s considerable transfers to public entities, R2.5 billion will be transferred to the Agricultural Research Council over the medium term, including R170 million for upgrading the foot-and-mouth disease vaccine facility, as containing this disease is key to South Africa’s red meat market.
3.4.3 Briefing on the Marine Living Resources Fund (MLRF)’s Annual Performance Plan and Budget
The Annual Performance and Budget of the MLRF was considered together with that of the Department (DAFF) as the MLRF is responsible for funding operational activities of the Department’s Programme 6, Fisheries Management. The DG reported that there are 9 main targets that are set to be achieved during the 2015/16 financial year. The targets include, among others, the implementation of the Working for Fisheries Programme, implementation of Operation Phakisa projects, allocation of fishing rights to 9 fishing sectors, recovery of priority fish stocks, allocation of fishing rights to small-scale fishing cooperatives, and implementation of the Integrated Fisheries Security Strategy. The Department further confirmed its commitment to respond to the overarching national policies and programmes. Operation Phakisa, the Ocean Economy Initiative, which was launched in 2014, seeks to maximally explore and exploit the vast economic potential in the oceans, particularly, the oil and gas resources, transportation, and fish farming. The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) is a lead agent in the implementation of the aquaculture component of the project. However, the Department acknowledged that there is no additional funding (except for own generated revenue, however minimal) for the aquaculture component of Operation Phakisa.
It was reported that 8 key initiatives were identified for aquaculture, which are expected to spur the growth of the sector. One initiative will address the selection and implementation of 24 projects, improving both the number and productivity of the new farms. Three initiatives relate to the creation of an enabling regulatory environment, and others focus on funding support, increasing skills pool and awareness and improving access to markets. By March 2016, 9 selected projects are expected to be implemented as part of the initial phase of Operation Phakisa.
3.4.4 The Budget and Department’s Expenditure
The DG highlighted that the Cabinet has approved budget reductions over the medium term (as was indicated by the FFC), namely, R158 million in 2015/16, R210 million in 2016/17 and R200 million in 2017/18, which will be effected mainly on compensation of employees, goods and services, and conditional allocations to provinces. She recited the reasons for reductions as they were highlighted by the FFC and acknowledged that the reductions will impact on all three areas of the Department’s medium term focus. To mitigate any effects on service delivery, she reported that the Department has embarked on a strategy to fill the most critical service delivery vacancies until the end of 2017/18.
The Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mr J Hlatshwayo, presented the Department’s budget for the MTEF period as per its six programmes. The CFO reported that the Department’s total budget allocation for the 2015/16 financial year is R6.38 billion, which decreased by R309 million from the 2014/15 financial year.
The largest share is allocated to Programme 2: Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety, with 33.5 per cent (up from 32.8 per cent in 2014/15) of the total allocation. The second largest share is allocated to Programme 3: Food Security and Agrarian Reform; which is 30.24 per cent (up from 25.6 per cent in 2014/15) of the total allocation; followed by Programme 5: Forestry and Natural Resources Management with 14.2 per cent (down from 20.4 per cent in 2014/15) of the total allocation. The remaining three programmes (i.e. Programme 1: Administration; Programme 4: Trade Promotion and Market Access; Programme 6: Fisheries Management) constitute 22.1 per cent of the budget vote.
Table 1. Budget Allocation per Programme for the MTEF Period
R 694 570.00
R 729 947.00
2. Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety
R2 199 796.00
R2 134 770.00
R1 921 827.00
3. Food Security and Agrarian Reform
R1 711 095.00
R1 930 297.00
R1 942 841.00
4. Trade Promotion and Market Access
R 294 223.00
R 238 162.00
R 295 629.00
5. Forestry and Natural Resources Management
R1 364 923.00
R 906 564.00
R 954 042.00
6. Fisheries Management
R 427 776.00
R 443 267.00
R 462 871.00
R6 692 383.00
R6 383 007.00
R6 342 539.00
In terms of proportional shifts within Programme allocation (change in per cent allocation); only Programme 3: Food Security and Agrarian Reform received positive growth on its nominal and real share of the budget. Reduction was most notable on Programme 5: Forestry and Natural Resources Management, with a nominal R442 million reduction (32.8 per cent) which represents R483.6 million (35.9 per cent) when adjusted for inflation. Another notable reduction was on Programme 4: Trade Promotion and Market Access, with a nominal decrease of R60.1 million (20.15 per cent) which represents R 71.0 million (23.8 per cent) when adjusted for inflation. The CFO also reported that he has met with the CFO of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) to discuss alignment of activities as part of the Integrated Funding Model that is being developed.
Conditional grants are located within and disbursements executed through three programmes of the Department, namely, Programme 2 (Agricultural production, health and food safety), Programme 3 (Food security and agrarian reform) and Programme 5 (Forestry and natural resources programme). The conditional grants are Ilima/Letsema, which is aimed at supporting sustainable agriculture and promoting rural development for smallholder producers; the LandCare programme, which is aimed at addressing land degradation problems and encouraging the sustainable use of natural resources; and the Comprehensive Agriculture Support Programme (CASP), which is aimed at providing post settlement support to the targeted beneficiaries of land reform and to other producers who have acquired land through private means and are, for example, engaged in value-adding enterprises domestically or involved in export. On conditional grants, the overall allocation has been reduced by R201 million, with the largest reduction on CASP grant dedicated for disasters flood damaged infrastructure. The Department acknowledged that there is no funding for the Fetsa Tlala Initiative but funds will be redirected from CASP and Ilima/Letsema towards Fetsa Tlala activities.
3.5 The Department’s Programme Deliverables
Programme 1 - Administration
The purpose of the programme is to provide strategic leadership, management and support services to the department. It comprises of the Ministry, Office of the Director-General, Financial Administration, Internal Audit, Risk Management, Corporate Services, Stakeholder Relations, Communications and Legal Services, and Policy, Planning and Monitoring and Evaluation.
Under Strategic Objective 1.1 that seeks to ensure compliance with statutory requirements and good governance practices, the Department plans to implement the Integrated Development Finance Framework (that includes MAFISA, CASP, AgriBEE, Ilima/Letsema, and LandCare). The Department reported that in collaboration with Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) and Land Bank, the draft Integrated Funding Model has been developed. The Department indicated that there are challenges with the Legislative Review and finalisation of key policy documents, some of which were planned to be finalised since 2013/14. For example, in the 2014/15 financial year, 14 Bills were earmarked for review and tabling in Parliament but only 3 Bills were formally tabled in Parliament.
Under Strategic Objective 1.2 that seeks to strengthen the support, guidance and interaction with stakeholders, the Department plans to coordinate 11 institutional structures, which is a downward revision from 2014/15. Under Strategic Objective 1.3 that seeks to strengthen institutional mechanisms for integrated policy, planning, monitoring and evaluation in the sector, the Department plans to review and implement a ‘public entities governance protocols’ (a new target). The Department has introduced a new target that relates to the annual report on the implementation of APAP interventions. The Department further acknowledged that the APAP, an extension of IPAP, is still under consultation in order to solicit support from all the relevant stakeholders.
Programme 2 – Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety
The purpose of the programme is to promote agricultural production through the management of risks associated with animal diseases, plant pests, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and registration of products used in agriculture. Its aim is to promote food safety and create an enabling environment for increased and sustainable agricultural production. The programme comprises three subprogrammes, namely, Plant Production and Health, Animal Production and Health and Inspection and Quarantine Services.
Under Strategic Objective 2.1 that seeks to ensure increased production and productivity in prioritised areas as well as value chains, the Department plans to continue to monitor the 2 animal improvement schemes namely: the Kaonafatso ya dikgomo and the Poultry Scheme by 2017; enforcing an agricultural animal disease regulatory framework to reduce the level of disease outbreaks and reduce interception at export channels by conducting a planned surveillance of plant diseases, the risk of pests in relation to the exotic fruit fly and animal disease surveillances on pestes des petits ruminants (goat plague) and avian influenza by 2017; ensuring access to primary animal health care services over the medium term through the implementation of a compulsory community service (by deploying 435 veterinary graduates to rural areas and providing primary health care equipment to provinces) and promote animal and plant conservation by implementing national plans to conserve the diversity of genetic resources of plants and animals for food and agricultural production by 2019. For the 2015/16 financial year, a projected 145 veterinarian graduates per year will be deployed to rural areas. The programme will also include the delivery of 74 mobile clinics, the rehabilitation of fixed clinics, and the provision of veterinary infrastructure in remote rural areas. These activities will be supported by projected spending of R200 million in the Agricultural Production, Health and Food Safety programme over the medium term.
Programme 3 – Food Security and Agrarian Reform
The purpose of the programme is to facilitate and promote household food security and agrarian reform programmes and initiatives through the implementation of the national policy on food and nutrition security, targeting subsistence, smallholder and commercial producers. The programme comprises of three subprogrammes, namely, Food Security, Sector Capacity Development and National Extension Support Services.
The Department aims to institutionalise the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security by 2019/20 through coordinating government food and nutrition security initiatives such as Fetsa Tlala and country livelihood zone maps that will profile food security baselines in 4 provinces; enhance capacity for efficient service delivery in the sector through the implementation of the agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries National Education and Training Strategy and the National Extension and Advisory Policy by 2019/20 and to provide leadership in the sector to ensure the effective and efficient utilisation of all farmer development support through the development and implementation of a Comprehensive Producer Support Policy by 2019/20.
Programme 4 – Economic Development, Trade and Marketing
The purpose of the programme is to promote economic development, trade and market access for agriculture, forestry and fisheries products and to foster international relations for the sector. The programme comprises of three subprogrammes, namely, International Relations and Trade, Agroprocessing and Marketing and Cooperatives and Rural Enterprise Development.
The programme aims to increase market access to the processing of agriculture, forestry and fisheries products by ensuring the South African Good Agricultural Practice Certification Programme is implemented for smallholder producers of fresh produce; ensuring 1 new poultry value chain network; 1 functional aquaculture and fruit industry value chain forum by 2019/20 and mobilising smallholder producers to establish 52 additional commodity based cooperatives and providing training to 325 existing cooperatives by 2019/20.
Programme 5 – Forestry and Natural Resources Management
The purpose of the programme is to develop and facilitate the implementation of policies and targeted programmes to ensure proper management of forests and the sustainable use and protection of land and water and to manage agricultural risks and disasters. The programme comprises of three subprogrammes, namely, Forestry Operations, Forestry Oversight and Regulation and Natural Resources Management.
The Department aims to increase productivity in prioritised areas and value chains by conducting environmental impact assessments in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape to enable small medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) to obtain afforestation licences; replanting 6 900 hectares in temporary unplanted areas that have been subjected to felling operations and other factors such as fire damage; coordinate government food security initiatives by revitalising 750 hectares of land to expand the irrigation schemes; ensure the conservation, protection, rehabilitation and recovery of depleted and degraded natural resources by rehabilitating 480 000 hectares of agricultural land and 1 500 hectares of woodlands and indigenous forests by 2017 and to ensure adaptation to climate change by implementing a climate change programme on biogas production and an integrated crop livestock system by 2019.
Programme 6 – Fisheries Management
The purpose of the programme is to promote the development, management, and monitoring and sustainable use of marine living resources and development of the fisheries sector. The programme comprises of four subprogrammes, namely, Aquaculture and Economic Development, Fisheries Research and Development, Marine Resources Management, Monitoring, Control and Surveillance and Marine Living Resources Fund.
The Department aims to increase productivity in prioritised areas by supporting 16 Operation Phakisa fisheries projects; developing the Aquaculture Bill to create an enabling environment for sector growth; conduct 2 aquaculture research projects annually to support sustainable development of the aquaculture sector; ensure sustainable utilisation of and equitable access to marine living resources by implementing the fishing rights allocation process; contribute to poverty alleviation and promote food security by developing and implementing the Smallscale Fisheries Policy for the allocation of fishing rights to smallscale fisheries cooperatives; ensure the conservation, protection, rehabilitation and recovery of depleted and degraded natural resources by developing recovery plans for the abalone and West Coast rock lobster fisheries sectors and enforcing compliance with the Integrated Fisheries Security Strategy by 2019/20. The Department reported that they have initiated consultations on the Draft Aquaculture Bill and expect it to be tabled in Parliament by January 2016.
- Overview of Committee Deliberations and Conclusions on the Strategic
Plan, APP and Budget of DAFF including the MLRF
The Committee welcomed the presentation that was made by the Department including the MLRF, which is responsible for Programme 6 operations, on its strategic goals and objectives relative to the APP and the budget over the MTEF period, as well as the presentation on the APAP. During the engagements and discussions with the Department, the Committee made comments and further raised the following areas of concern for the Department’s attention:
- The consultation process in the development of the APAP, which is reflected in
the lack of synergy and a direct linkage between the APAP and the Strategic Plan and APP of the Department; and lack of clearly defined collaborative activities between the Department, the DRDLR, entities and other stakeholders that are supposed to play a role in the implementation of APAP. The Committee commented that the APAP would not be effectively implemented without well-coordinated activities between the Department and key stakeholders such as the DRDLR, among others. Furthermore, the budget cut in the MTEF period will have implications for the implementation of APAP and the Department did not respond to how the matter will be addressed.
- The Committee further observed that the APP of the Department does not directly speak to the SONA in terms of the number of hectares that needs to be planted for the Fetsa Tlala Programme.
- The viability of the cooperatives that are being established particularly for the
smallscale fisheries sector given that there are no support programmes for fisheries and forestry for example. Further concerns were raised about the research capacity within the Department’s Fisheries Management and gaps or possible duplication of functions between the Department and the Department of Small Business in assisting SMMEs.
- Lack of funding for the Aquaculture Development Programme as the Committee felt
that aquaculture could be one of the areas by which the fisheries sector can further contribute to job creation and food security; and the need to clarify whether focus for aquaculture development is on either marine or freshwater aquaculture or both.
- The Committee also registered its dissatisfaction with the fact that the Integrated
Funding Model is still being developed and the DG could not provide full details of the Model as promised in the previous Committee meeting.
- The Committee also noted that the Department’s Plans including the APAP, have no
specific activities on communal livestock development that focus specifically on provinces that have a competitive advantage such as the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, as they already have large numbers of livestock.
- The Committee was generally not convinced that the Department will be able to
achieve all the targets that it has set itself given its capacity and budgetary challenges. The Committee suggested that the Department should rather have fewer SMART targets to ensure maximum effectiveness and efficiency.
- The Committee also raised a concern regarding the Department’s unfunded
mandates such as Fetsa Tlala and Operation Phakisa and implications on other activities whose funding has to be redirected to fund these programmes.
- Consideration of the Strategic Plans, APPs and Budgets of DAFF Public
5.1 The National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC)
The National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) was established in terms of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act, 1996 (Act No. 47 of 1996) to provide strategic advice to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on all agricultural marketing issues, to improve market efficiency and market access by all participants, to optimise export earnings, and to improve the viability of the agricultural sector.
The NAMC’s strategic goals over the medium term are to:
- ensure increased market access for all markets participants.
- promote efficiency in the marketing of agricultural products.
- optimise export earnings from agricultural products.
- enhance the viability of the agricultural sector.
The Acting Chairperson of the Board of the NAMC, Mr AD Young gave a brief background on the sectoral landscape and the NAMC Board’s responsibilities. He informed the Committee that the Board has two vacancies and as a result, it sometimes experiences difficulty in forming a quorum during Board meetings. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NAMC, Mr Ronald Ramabulana presented the 2015/16 APP of the NAMC. He informed the Committee that the NAMC operates within a dynamic environment characterised by a number of global socio-economic and policy challenges such as shortcomings of land reform, market dominance by some role-players along the agro-food value chain, lack of effective collaboration between government and the private sector and proliferation of food safety standards and regulations.
Mr Ramabulana reported that through the Livestock Development Programme, the NAMC has put more focus on access to markets and marketing for communal livestock farmers. He mentioned that the Strategic Integrated Infrastructure Project (SIP 11) is meant to assist project owners to strengthen the project business cases to raise funding and to coordinate reporting on existing and proposed new high-impact/anchor agro-logistics and rural infrastructure projects. He mentioned that most of the SIP projects receive funding directly from National Treasury except the Agricultural SIP. The National Treasury said departments need to be able to fund some of the SIP functions and to attract private funding. In this regard, the NAMC is currently focusing on the mobilisation of funding for many of the anchor projects and approximately R3 billion has been secured. He further reported that Draft Norms and Standards for Smallholder Farmer Support have been submitted to the Department.
The NAMC has been allocated R34.63 million with a nominal decrease of R1.37 million compared to the 2014/15 financial year.
5.2 The Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB)
The PPECB is mandated by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in terms of two Acts., the Perishable Products Export Control Act, 1983 (Act No. 9 of 1983), which requires the PPECB to ensure the orderly export of perishable agricultural products and monitor the proper maintenance of a continuous cold chain for exports, while the Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990 (Act No. 119 of 1990) requires the PPECB to monitor minimum quality standards of perishable products for export.
The PPECB’s strategic objectives over the medium term are to:
- enhance the credibility of South Africa’s export certification.
- supporting the export competitiveness of South Africa’s perishable products industries.
- strengthen the PPECB’s capacity to provide a professional suite of services.
The Chairperson of the Board of the PPECB, Mr AG Peterson mentioned that the Board is 18 months into the term and has recently lost 1 member who has resigned; and the Board has advertised for a replacement. He also informed the Committee that the CEO, Mr Symington, resigned in December to join the private sector. While the PPECB is still in the process of recruiting a new CEO, Mr Cyril Julius has been appointed as an Acting CEO. The Chairperson of the Board introduced the Strategic Plan and APP of the PPECB and the Acting CEO, Mr Julius did the presentation.
The Acting CEO gave an overview of the PPECB’s mandate, its structure, operational activities and areas of operation. He reported that the fruit sector (grapes and plums) experienced losses in the past year due to adverse weather (hail and floods). As the PPECB does not get a Parliamentary Grant but generates revenue mainly from fees and levies for statutory services for the perishable products industry, the losses had a negative impact on the PPECB’s revenue. He also informed the Committee that the PPECB has finalised amendments to and submitted two Bills to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the PPECB believes that the Bills could be tabled in Parliament during the current financial year. The Bills are the Perishable Products Export Control Amendment Bill and the Agricultural Product Standards Amendment Bill.
It was also reported that the 2015/16 budget of the PPECB is informed by four main drivers; delivery of statutory services, execution of the Board approved strategic plan, mitigation of the main risk areas in the service delivery of PPECB priorities and moving towards electronic export certification.
5.3 Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP)
The Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP) was established by the Onderstepoort Biological Products Incorporation Act, 1999 (Act No. 19 of 1999). The mandate of the company is to prevent and control animal diseases that impact on food security, human health and livelihoods through sustainable veterinary vaccine manufacturing.
The company’s strategic goals over the medium term are to:
- build a successful, high performance organisation.
- improve business process and management practices.
- build a profitable and sustainable company.
- facilitate job through indirectly supporting clients and directly creating subsidiaries joint venture incubating, accelerating and spawning off new business entities.
- contribute to government priorities with respect to food security and economic growth.
The non-executive Director of the Board of OBP, Dr Mono Mashaba gave a brief overview on the vaccine production process and the status quo at OBP. The CEO, Dr S Cornelius presented the Corporate Plan of OBP for 2015/16 – 2017/18. The CEO reported that the OBP Board has highlighted and suggested the inclusion of Stakeholder Relationship Management and Communication as a Strategic Goal for the new MTEF period. The entity indicated that it continues to maintain its ISO accreditation on an annual basis and would need to ‘upgrade and modernise’ the plant to reach the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) as applicable to all production plants in the pharmaceutical industry in terms of the GMP certification. He reported that many countries, both in Africa and the rest of the world, require GMP certification before they consider doing business with OBP.
The entity highlighted that a Vaccine Distribution Strategy will be developed during the 2015/16 financial year; and the OBP plans to distribute at least 1 500 doses of vaccines to smallholder farmers during this financial year. The CEO also presented the entity’s plans to curb staff turnover rate; develop and approve a succession planning policy; and develop and approve a retention strategy. The entity also indicated that among its strengths is the extensive vaccine product range that it offers in line with the livestock disease burden of South Africa and Africa at large and its efforts to maintain institutional stability. In its risk management plan, the entity also indicated that it will motivate DAFF to promulgate the 2007 amendments on Animal Health Diseases Act (Act No. 35 of 1984).
The CEO indicated that the funding application that was submitted to National Treasury for the refurbishment and modernising the vaccine manufacturing plant was R880 million to R1.2 billion. However, the National Treasury could only afford R492.4 million over the MTEF period, 2013/14 to 2015/16. As the OBP is not funded through the fiscus, it is working hard to contain costs and increase the income that it generates through the sale of vaccines. The OBP expects to be showing real profits after 3 years. It was also indicated that the Minister and the Department are in discussions with provinces regarding provincial procurement of vaccines.
5.4. South African Veterinary Council (SAVC)
The South African Veterinary Council (SAVC) is a representative organisation for the veterinary and para-veterinary professions, promoting the health and well-being of all people of South Africa through the promotion of animal health, production and well-being. SAVC is a professional organisation that is self-funded through its membership subscription fees.
The objectives of SAVC are to:
- regulate the practicing of the veterinary professions.
- determine the minimum standards of tuition and training.
- register holders of prescribed qualifications.
- exercise effective control over professional conduct.
- determine the standards of professional conduct.
The Vice-President of SAVC, Dr Jana Pretorius presented the Strategic Plan of SAVC. She mentioned that the veterinary profession is regarded as key to rural development, not only in terms of food safety but also in managing rural development, management of animal health and production and veld and pasture management. SAVC mission, sought through the Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Professions Act, 1982 (Act No. 19 of 1982), is to promote competent, efficient, accessible and needs-driven service delivery in the animal health care sector; protect the health and well-being of animals and animal populations; regulate the professional conduct of the veterinary and para-veterinary professions; set and monitor standards of both education and practice for the veterinary and para-veterinary professions; and protect and represent the interests of the veterinary and para-veterinary professions.
SAVC also presented a brief overview of the One-Health Concept, which they fully support but highlighted that it will need an effective and fully capacitated state veterinary services. The One-Health Concept encompasses animal production, animal health research, smallscale farmers, disease management, food safety, companion and working animals. SAVC also highlighted their concerns regarding the shortage and conditions of service of state veterinarians including the Department’s delay in implementing the Veterinary and Para-veterinary Professions Amendment Act (Act No. 16 of 2012), whose delay will seriously impact the provision of veterinary services to people who need the service the most (the poor and in rural areas). In this regard, SAVC indicated that it is possible that veterinary students who will graduate in 2016, are likely to perform the compulsory community service for which the Act was amended.
SAVC highlighted health and food safety concerns regarding poor controls on the Fertilisers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act (Act No. 36 of 1947), which requires certain medicines to be handled by registered people (e.g. veterinarians) and sold only from registered premises; and this is not always the case. As some antibiotics are administered under Act No. 36, SAVC is concerned about uncontrolled use of antibiotics, which could lead to resistance and development of superbugs. SAVC is also very concerned with Brucellosis (contagious abortion in animals) as a large number of veterinarians are also getting infected by the disease. SAVC also raised an existing concern with Threatened and Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), which requires veterinarians to get permission from DEA to work on threatened and protected wildlife species. Numerous discussions with DEA have not yielded any positive results.
5.5 Agricultural Research Council (ARC)
The ARC was established by the Agricultural Research Act, 1990 (Act No. 86 of 1990) and is the main agricultural research institution in South Africa. The ARC’s mandate in terms of the Act is to conduct research and development and to effect the transfer of technology in order to promote agriculture and the industry, contribute to a better quality of life and facilitate and ensure natural resource conservation.
The ARC’s strategic goals over the medium term are to:
- To improve the productivity, production, competitiveness and sustainability of crop-based and livestock-based agriculture.
- To enhance the productive use and conservation of natural resources.
- To translate research results to support agrarian transformation and the efficiency and competitiveness of the sector.
- To achieve good governance, financial sustainability and a high performing and visible organisation.
The Chairperson of the Board of the ARC, Prof S Vil-Nkomo introduced the Board representatives and made opening remarks before tabling the Strategic Plan of the ARC for 2015/16 to 2019/20. The Chief Executive Officer, Dr Shadrack Moephuli presented the Strategic Plan and Annual Business Plan of the ARC. He mentioned that the ARC is working on creating an enabling environment for optimal use of information and communication technology (ICT) resources to provide and support knowledge management platforms and to enhance its research and development initiatives and service delivery. The ARC need to find optimal use of its land and assets including buildings and equipment for research and development. The CEO mentioned that the ARC established a new Division on Agri-economics and Capacity Development, which will be doing research on the impact of the ARC’s research publications, among other things. He mentioned that the ARC will also conduct a study to evaluate the impact of duplication of activities among Government departments and/or entities. It was also reported that the ARC work in partnership with a number of academic institutions, e.g. the University of Fort Hare’s Centre of Excellence for Food and Nutrition Security.
For the next five years, the ARC plans to focus on socio-economic research activities. However, the ARC emphasised serious implications of the decreased Parliamentary Grant due to Government-wide budget cuts. The ARC highlighted that due to the budget cuts, other Government departments from which it sourced external funding, such as the DRDLR, may not be able to make certain commitments. The CEO mentioned that the budget cut is going to affect the rural development projects on which the ARC is currently working, the new vaccine development project and marketing activities; and student intake will also be limited. The CEO indicated that the ARC is addressing loss of skills particularly due to retirements by ensuring that senior scientists have contractual agreements to mentor and train younger scientists in scarce and critical skills, as part of its succession plan.
- Overview of Committee Deliberations and Conclusions on the APPs and
Budgets of DAFF Entities
Having examined and discussed the Strategic Plans, APPs and budgets of the entities, the Committee raised the following:
6.1 National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC)
- The role of the NAMC and clear targets regarding assistance provided to smallholder famers on market information and access to markets for their products.
- Delays in the amendment of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act to clarify inter alia, the mandate of the NAMC and its role in the management of Agricultural Trusts.
6.2 Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB)
- Delays from the Department regarding the two pieces of legislation that relate to exports and quality standards that are expected to be tabled in Parliament during the current financial year as reported by the PPECB.
6.3 Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP)
- The Committee commended the OBP for addressing its previous concerns regarding the alignment of services between the entity, the Department and provinces.
- Lack of a plan to recapture the five markets that the OBP has lost; and its invisibility in provinces.
- Lack of progress regarding a funding agreement between the entity and the Department for the establishment of a vaccine bank and increased production of orphan vaccines.
- Lack of a budget allocation to the OBP to enable it to achieve its objectives for the benefit of the country and the region, given the prevalence of animal disease outbreaks and notwithstanding that the OBP is a National Key Point.
6.4 South African Veterinary Council (SAVC)
The Committee acknowledged the challenges that were raised by SAVC and the negative impacts that these have on the profession, namely,
- Constraints experienced by veterinarians (Vets) when working on wildlife due to Threatened and Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations that were published by the DEA.
- A pending court case by Wildlife Ranching South Africa against DAFF, SAVC and the Medicines Council.
- Delays in the implementation of the Veterinary and Para-veterinary Professions Amendment Act (Act No. 16 of 2012).
- Delays in the implementation of Compulsory Community Service (CCS) for Vets.
- Poor regulatory control measures of the Fertilisers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act (Act No. 36 of 1947).
- Lack of a well-functioning food safety Inspectorate.
6.5 Agricultural Research Council (ARC)
- Insufficiency of funds that are allocated to the ARC to enable it to perform research activities for the benefit of the country. Among these are research activities to prevent and address challenges associated with diseases such as citrus black spot (CBS) and foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).
- Lack of a retention strategy that will supplement its succession plan to ensure that critical research capacity that will be lost through retirement is timeously replaced without negatively affecting its core mandate.
- Lack of capacity development programmes in partnership with academic institutions to ensure that the ARC develops domestic capacity in the required scarce and critical skills instead of relying on recruiting foreign specialists.
- No clear indication on how the ARC’s research is communicated and benefits particularly smallholder and communal farmers. Lack of employment equity at top management level, where the executive management level has only males and the senior management level below it, has only 18% females.
- The Committee acknowledged the budgetary challenges that are faced by the ARC, which are directly linked to the budget cut of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
- Importance of aligning functions and collaborations between the Department, entities and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to avoid duplication of activities and wasteful expenditure.
- Committee Resolutions
After discussions and deliberations on the Department and the Entities’ Strategic Plans, APPs and Budget Vote 24, the Committee acknowledged the general concern that was raised by the Department including its Entities regarding the budgetary cuts that have affected DAFF the most, and resolved to:
- Engage with both the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Minister of Finance about the implications of the budget cuts in the sector, particularly on mandated activities such as the implementation of the APAP, Fetsa Tlala, Operation Phakisa, inter alia.
- Engage with the Minister of Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Minister of Finance regarding the mandate of the OBP and its role as a National Key Point that is responsible, through the manufacturing of animal vaccines, for the well-being and health of the national herd, which is also directly linked to food safety.
8. Committee Recommendations
The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries makes the following recommendations to the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries regarding Budget Vote 24:
- Ensure that while a proper plan to consolidate conditional grants into a one-stop shop as was previously recommended is being developed, the Department should strengthen monitoring of the grants to avoid wasteful expenditure and underspending. In this regard, a detailed report should be submitted to the Committee on how DAFF plans to monitor the use of conditional grants in provinces, also indicating shortfalls in areas where CASP and Ilima/Letsema grants will be redirected to Fetsa Tlala. Report expected by the end of June 2015.
- Some of the reasons for the Department’s budget cut were reported to be due to poor planning and lack of monitoring i.e. inability to ensure that conditional grants in particular, are effectively utilised for the purposes that they were meant for and within the stipulated time frames. The Department should present to the Committee by August 2015, a plan on how it addresses the issues that were raised by the National Treasury and the Auditor-General regarding its budgetary use, setting of targets and unreliable data or lack of source documents.
- Certain direct and mandated functions of the Department are budgeted for and carried out outside the Department, e.g. Animal and Veld Management is a function of DAFF, which does not feature anywhere in DAFF’s plans, but is one of the programmes in the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) with a budget of approximately R772 million. By the end of July 2015, the Department should provide a detailed report on this including other activities that are carried out by other departments or even entities as mentioned by the Committee on livestock development programmes, without collaboration with DAFF; and also explain its response to such cross-cutting matters including budget implications.
- Ensure that the Committee’s continuous concerns regarding the alignment of services and activities between the Department, entities, provinces and other departments such as the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) are addressed as this can also assist the Department with cost-containment measures given the budget cuts; and to maximise service delivery. The alignment and collaborations are particularly important for the implementation of the APAP, which the Committee found wanting in this regard; and in addressing budget shortfalls within the Vote. In this regard, the Minister should ensure that the Integrated Funding Model, which was reported to have been developed by DAFF, DRDLR and the Land Bank is finalised and a detailed report with financial implications for each Department, is submitted and presented to joint Committees by September 2015.
- Present to the Committee a progress report by the end of July 2015, on transformation in all three sectors including how the Department is addressing slow progress in some sub-sectors and the challenges that are associated with implementation of sector transformation codes. In addition, the Department and its entities must present progress made in terms of employment equity targets, particularly in middle to senior management positions as well as critical skills at professional levels.
- By the end of August 2015, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries should provide the Committee with an update from the State Law Advisors regarding the implementation of Veterinary and Para-veterinary Professions Amendment Act (No. 16 of 2012) and finalisation of the Compulsory Community Services (CCS) Regulations for veterinarians, whose delay will negatively impact rural areas that need veterinary services the most.
- A progress report on engagements between DAFF and the Department of Environmental Affairs regarding implications of the Threatened and Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations on the operations of veterinarians should be presented to the Committee by the end of July 2015.
- The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries should brief the Committee on current regulatory controls on Fertilisers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act (Act No. 36 of 1947) including plans to amend the Act to address the challenges associated with the poor control measures in the administration of the Act including concerns relating to food safety related matters as it was indicated by the veterinary services profession. Report to Committee by the end of August 2015.
- Ensure that the OBP present to the Committee a comprehensive plan to
recapture the five markets that it has lost including new ones, to ensure a sustainable revenue stream, by the end of August 2015.
Report to be considered.
 It must be noted that the General Household Survey data was used as the baseline
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