Hansard: Appropriation Bill: Debate on Vote No 25 — Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries:
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 12 Apr 2010
No summary available.
TUESDAY, 13 APRIL 2010
PROCEEDINGS OF THE EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – COMMITTEE ROOM E249
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in E249 at 14:06.
House Chairperson Mr K O Bapela, as the Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers and meditation.
Debate on Budget Vote No 25-Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES
START OF DAY
Debate on Vote No 25 - Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries:
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Chairperson, hon Ministers, especially Minister Patel, Deputy Ministers, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dr Mulder, the chairperson of the portfolio committee and its members, hon members, amakhosi, captains of industry, acting Director-General of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and government officials, colleagues and comrades, ladies and gentlemen, we are working together towards another countryside.
The cruel events of the past three weeks remind us again of the centrality and presence of rural South Africa with its attendant contradictions and conflicts. It is a challenge that is yet to be with us. It calls on all of us, black and white, to accelerate the pace and content of change. We must create a society where divisions of the past will have no place. Instead of being each other's murderers, we must become each other's keepers.
This act in all its barbarity underscores the salience of the work we have been doing this year of convening farmworker and vulnerable worker summits in preparation for the national farmworker summit later on in the year. The intention is to create an environment in which the recent sad events are not repeated. Such reconciliation is critical especially in terms of the hosting of the 2010 World Cup. The government condemns, in all its manifestations, the violence aimed at farmers and farmworkers. We will work tirelessly to fight for safety on farms.
This budget is our society's attempt to contribute to the resolution of the agrarian question in our country. It is our attempt to look at the questions and challenges that relate to the social, political, economic and ecological dimensions of the access and use of land in our society.
South Africa's location as a developing economy in the global economy means that it is a price taker and has to battle against the northern countries which receive strong support and effective protection from their governments. Despite its formidable credentials to survive and expand, commercial agriculture has to work with the state. In this regard we have had and will continue to have sound relations with the National African Farmers Union, Nafu, the Transvaal Agriculture Union, Tau, and Agri SA. We are not only talking to them; they are participating in out programmes, for example the farmworkers' summit.
The democratic government has to navigate a path of agrarian change that does justice to the majority of the people, whilst protecting the interests of commercial players whose interests are also part of our national interest.
Such agrarian change should involve the support of subsistence food production. It should allow for the growth of smallholder farming and the retention of a competitive commercial sector. It calls for the implementation of the Freedom Charter's clarion call to help those who work the land with implements, seeds, tractors, irrigation and related measures.
Looked at closely, the Polokwane resolutions seek to comprehensively respond to the three fundamental actors of our agricultural programme: the subsistence, the smallholders and developed agriculture. In essence, this is the heart of the agrarian question in our country. We no longer want to call people emerging farmers. They cannot emerge for 16 years. After 16 years a child must be born. There have to be subsistence, smallholder and commercial farmers.
We will focus on seven critical issues: administration; economic development of markets and trade; food security and agrarian reform; fisheries management; forestry production and resource management; policy, planning and evaluation; and agriculture production, health and food safety.
I am happy to report that we have started the new financial year as a fully integrated Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. By the end of May the entire function of Fisheries will be with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, as announced by the President to the Hawston community. A proclamation is being prepared by the Presidency to transfer the remaining 18% of the functions, which are still with the Department of Environmental Affairs, to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. We will then have the entire component of Fisheries as part of our department.
We have a clear road map for dealing with capacity issues. Vacancies will be filled. The priority will be to fill critical senior management positions before the end of this quarter. This includes the position of the Director-General of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
We will strengthen human resource development programmes to address weaknesses in the support to agrarian reform beneficiaries. We cannot simply say that these beneficiaries failed. We have to analyse what we have done or what we have not done to assist these beneficiaries. Our analysis is that our department was ill-equipped to assist land reform beneficiaries. We need to continue attracting new entrants, especially the youth, into our sector.
There are challenges of inconsistency in policies and of the legislative environment that is not supportive of the developmental goals of our state and the objectives of the department. To correct this situation, the department will embark on a legislative review process. This is aimed at strengthening our service delivery capacity and mandate. If laws are found to be in tandem with what we seek to do, we will not change them. Why fix something if it ain't broken? But if the laws are inconsistent with what we need to do, we certainly have to amend those laws.
A critical measuring rod for our term of office will be the extent to which our policies create momentum towards the creation of jobs, food security and sustainable livelihoods. Our policies must address our economic development challenges. This calls on us to pay particularattention to agro processing andagribusiness.
Our President, in the state of the nation address, impressed upon South Africa to increase intra-Africa trade and improve the trade balance in favour of our continent. Increased trade will result in increased value in terms of jobs created, improved incomes and efficient industries. It is with this mandate that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will enhance intra-Africa trade for the benefit of us all.
As the Industrial Policy Action Plan 2 argues, the structural constraint of unsustainable growth based on credit extension and consumption without concomitant growth in production sectors, will not ensure sustainable economic growth.
We will focus on manufacturing processes, infrastructure development and investment, and sustainable economic growth especially in aquaculture, agro-processing and agro-industries. The sector's contribution to the GDP will be increased by the level of public and private investment for our sector.
With regard to food security and agrarian reform, more than 40% of South Africans live in rural areas. Sixty percent of them live in the former homelands. This is where the highest concentration of poverty resides in our country.
Whilst not all of them participate in agriculture, agricultural resources are the most palpable means of production that is immediately available to them. It is potentially less costly to participate in agriculture, and, with adequate support, this can lead to the renaissance of the former homelands.
We plan to establish a national food security indicator, and over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework the main focus will be on continuing the roll-out of our extension recovery plan.
In the next month the department will launch an extensive nationwide mechanisation programme. One hundred million rand has been allocated to Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. The rest of the provinces will follow shortly. Government is moving away from providing gardening implements. Instead, it wants to give black farmers a realistic chance to improve production, increase yields and access domestic and global markets.
This programme will be supplemented by the supply of irrigation infrastructure as well as fencing. We are working with the Department of Public Works on this. This, we believe, will guarantee access to affordable financing for rural entrepreneurs. The department will introduce a single funding mechanism for black farmers. It will use the same model for Forestry and Fisheries.
The diverse funding requirements need a holistic development financing model. In partnership with financial institutions like the Industrial Development Corporation, IDC, the Land Bank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, DBSA, and the African Development Bank, we will broaden access to industries. We aim to assist 50 000 black subsistence producers to become smallholder producers.
We will upscale the sector's marketing research and analysis capacity. Investment in the Agricultural Research Council, the ARC, and in Onderstepoort Biological Products, the OBP, is long overdue. The National Agricultural Marketing Council is pivotal in this regard as well as in the monitoring of the food prices across the country. Here, we wish to call on companies that have colluded in price-fixing to lower the price of bread and to sell their bread at cost price. It is not enough for them to simply apologise. I am challenging them to sell their bread at cost price. They have the ability to do so. [Applause.]
We will also support local fresh produce markets, processing facilities and additional market access. In all these endeavours, we will keep our focus on the youth, women and persons with disabilities. This work will not reach its full potential unless it inspires the participation and ownership of our amakhosi.
We will improve the functioning of the Agriculture Black Economic Empowerment and Forestry Charter Councils. After consultation with stakeholders, we will legislate agriculture black economic empowerment targets. We cannot just leave these to chance. Agri-BEE targets must be legislated.
Fish is a finite resource. Despite the economic fortunes that big players make, there is an ecological dilemma and a social dilemma of the changing fortunes of ordinary fisher folk and their communities. Our programmes address the ecological challenge, the challenge of social decay as well the imperatives of black economic empowerment in the industry.
Our programme aims to promote the equitable and sustainable management and efficient use of marine living resources. A policy review process will be developed and we will implement fishing right allocations in the commercial sector. There are two groups of scientists. The one group argues that we cannot allocate quotas for abalone. The other group argues that, if we reduce poaching, we will be able to allocate new and fresh abalone quotas. It is our vision that we arrest the situation of poaching and grant small fisher folk quotas for abalone.
The South African coast provides substantial opportunities for economic and social development. However, it is a resource at risk from inappropriate developments, pollution and poaching.
We plan to reduce the degradation of the marine environment through developing policies that promote conservation and sustainable use of marine living resources. Our environmental potential for aquaculture production could increase from 3 543 tons, a net value of R218 million, to more than 90 000 tons, worth R2,4 billion, over the next 10 to 20 years. If production grows to the projected level of 90 000 tons per annum, the industry will have an employment potential for more than 44 000 people.
We will finalise, adopt and implement the small-scalefishing policy. It will further support the adoption of sustainable aquaculture that benefits the poor, through investment in infrastructure and skills transfer in the amount of R150 million over the MTEF period. Government will also use the 12 declared fishing harbours as a catalyst for economic development.
Dis tyd dat ons die geduld van vissersgemeenskappe beloon. Hulle was geduldig. Dis tyd dat ons die generasies van inheemse kennis en ervaring erken en daardie kennis integreer met konvensionele navorsing. Daardie kennis kan 'n mens nie in skole leer nie. Ons kan nie daardie kennis in boeke leer nie. Die vissermanne en -vroue sê dat daar eers seewater in jou are moet vloei, voordat jy kan weet wat die see is. Ongelukkig het ek nie seewater in my are nie, maar ek luister na mense soos Suleiman Achmat, Zandisile Henderson Ndongeni, Uncle Jack Heydrick en ander wat 'n bestaansreg in vissery befryf.
They are all here in the gallery or the overflow room.
Dis immershulle erfporsie en dis al erfporsie wat hulle het. Ons kan dit nie van hulle wegneem nie.
We plan to work closer with the security cluster to protect our marine resources just like we plan to work and protect farmers and farmworkers. The Lilian Ngoyi, the Florence Mkhize as well as the Sarah Baartman will patrol the national waters, covering up to 200 nautical miles offshore, particularly during the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
Forests are the lungs of our planet. Their products are also an integral part of our furniture of life. Without forests there would be no paper, no ceilings, no tables. The forestry programme we wish to pursue is one that invites participation by small-scale players.
The industry is still dominated by a few players who are big businesspeople. The same can also be said about the challenge of transformation in the few significant players in the sector.
Existing agricultural programmes such as Land and Agrarian Reform Project, Larp, and the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme, Casp, will be broadened to include Forestry and Fisheries. Working with the Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, we will look at the integrated assessment of our forest resources. The Development Bank of Southern Africa will assist in terms of the finalisation of the transfer of plantation assets to land reform beneficiaries.
In line with our Nedbank programme, we have set a target of planting one million trees within this financial year. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Total SA as the main sponsor of the Arbour Week celebrations.
The department has budgeted R501 million for the coming year to assist in minimising the degradation of wetlands. We will adopt a climate-change sector plan and establish improved early warning systems.
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries are a business and a science. The value chains for these three components provide food security for the country and earn South Africa a reasonable amount of foreign exchange. It is thus critical that both government policy and strategy interventions and private-sector expectations are managed judiciously. In this regard we are reviewing the various sector plans. We will continue the practice of consultation with our stakeholders, so you need not fear about this.
Food safety and food health have become an increasingly sensitive trade matter. Both the World Trade Organisation agreed tariffs and other known sanitary and phytosanitary measures seem to have a lesser impact and are more of a barrier to trade than originally intended.
We had incidences such as Rift Valley Fever, foot-and-mouth disease, avian flu and fruit fly infestation. We will work with the private sector to maximise the use of available resources and respond comprehensively to disease management.
We will fund the strategic vaccine bank for major transboundary animal diseases. This will allow a more effective response to transboundary animal disease outbreaks. We are in full control and with the resources at our disposal we will not compromise the trading status of the country with any trading partner.
In the medium term, the department will solicit the sectoral marketing support interventions that are aimed at unblocking market access barriers.
We are convinced that under the leadership of President Zuma, we will make our contribution towards the creation of another countryside, a people's countryside. South Africa's products are very well placed with trade initiatives such as those with the European Union, the European Free Trade Association, the Southern African Customs Union, the Southern African Development Community, India and the World Trade Organisation. The energy, vigilance and guidance from the portfolio committee and the entire House will move this sector from being a poverty-stricken sector to one which is truly a sector which can provide wealth for all.
I want to thank the chairperson of the portfolio committee and the committee members who remain an inspiration but who are vigilant in making sure that we stay on the strict and narrow path. I wish to thank the Deputy Minister for his tireless efforts, and his challenges and contribution should not go unnoticed. My work is made easy further by the competent senior staff of the department. Last, but not least, I would like to say that my ministerial staff are always patient with my unending demands. I apologise for placing all these demands on them, but I know they are such a good team that they can shoulder these demands. A final tribute is reserved for my family and my two sons in particular. They are sitting somewhere here. Austin and Terrence, now that you have heard your names you can go home and do your homework. [Laughter.} I would like to thank my friend of 30 years, Ms Lorna Adonis, for very appropriately leaving her job and taking the responsibility of looking after my children.
Mr Speaker and hon members, please receive the budget for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for the financial year 2010-11. I thank you. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr K O Bapela): Minister, you took a few extra minutes which will be deducted from your remaining five minutes, unless some people from the ruling party save on time.
END OF TAKE
Mr M JOHNSON
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES
Mr M JOHNSON: Chairperson, Minister and Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ministers and Deputy Ministers present especially from the economic cluster, colleagues, chiefs, acting director-general and the team from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, chairpersons and chief executive officers from entities accounting to the department, Land Bank, whose work, though governed in the National Treasury, is part of the agriculture family, from its inception in 1912 until today, comrades, fellow countrymen and -women, colleagues, I have observed all protocols.
We continue to be guided by that beacon of hope crafted 55 years ago, the Freedom Charter, which amongst other things, declared:
The land shall be shared among those who work it!
It further continues to say:
Restrictions of land ownership on a racial basis shall be ended, and all the land redivided amongst those who work it to banish famine and land hunger;
The state shall help the peasants with implements, seed, tractors and dams to save the soil and assist the tillers ... People shall not be robbed of their cattle, and forced labour and farm prisons shall be abolished.
After 358 years of colonial rule and 62 years of apartheid rule whose legacies are ongoing and which will still be with us for some time, we are, however, making some progress on a number of fronts.
We are informed by the material conditions prevalent at the time with a clear vision of where our revolution is headed. The premier movement for change in South Africa, the ANC, has resolved that 2010 shall indeed be the year of working together to speed up effective service delivery to the people. Enjoined by the January 8 statement of 2010, Commander in Chief Jacob Zuma said the following:
We will also make sure that our government officials, who have the responsibility of rural development and agrarian reform, speed up the provision of services to these marginalised communities.
Yet, on the other hand, we have people, both in this Chamber and out there, who are opposed to this vision, to this noble goal of speeding up service delivery to and with the ordinary and marginalised communities. Anyway, what would you expect from organisations led by clumsy and ugly people. Whilst they are busy with policy formulations, who knows if those are not going to be far from the character of the custodians, that is clumsy and ugly.
In reiterating the words of the hon Minister of Defence, Lindiwe Sisulu, all sound-minded individuals are once again reminded to follow the hon Rev Dandala and leave the confusion to those power-hungry, ugly and clumsy ones, whose survival has and continues to be proven to be based on factionalism and divisions, whether in church, sport, in the UDF or in the unions. From time immemorial, the ANC has remained unshaken in its resolve of fighting to free black people in general and Africans in particular from, among other things, hunger and famine.
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries therefore are centres that bring about food to the South African nation first and foremost. With a new department in place and the introduction of an outcomes-based system of government, there has been a realignment of priorities such as leading, supporting and promoting agriculture, forestry and fisheries, resource management through policies, and strategies and programmes to enhance sustainable use; and achieving economic growth, job creation, food security, rural development and transformation.
Given the picture painted above, it becomes imperative that we raise the following facts in the real world we live in. Of the approximately one billion people who go to bed without food every day, 14 million of them are located on our shores in South Africa. Yet, our country's required 9 million tons of grain in this current season has since been surpassed by 4 to 5 million tons, leaving us with a surplus of about 4 million tons. That is capitalism for you at play.
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries contribute 4,4% towards the country's gross domestic product. Alone, agriculture accounts for 5% of the country's total employment figures. Had agriculture, forestry and fisheries been small-scale driven as opposed to a highly capital intensive and mechanised commercial sector, we would be closer to the situations in other developing nations.
Though we support Budget Vote 25, we must hasten to highlight the fact that the challenges mentioned above really need more resources than the R3,7 billion allocated in financial year 2010-11, a figure that accounts for a mere 0,4% of the total R907 billion Budget.
South Africa was party to the 2003 African Union Maputo summit. Amongst other things, it committed to growing the agriculture budget to 10% of the total country's budget allocations by 2008. One of my colleagues will certainly deal with this matter. This budget is decreased by 11,5% in real terms compared to the R3,9 billion of the total combined budget of the three sectors in the financial year 2009-10. To further illustrate the above, this is worrisome state of affairs considering the fact that agriculture's budget declined in 2007-08 by 1%, to 0,3% in the current financial year. We must walk the talk. In other words, when we say, Minister, that we prioritise food security, amongst other things, the budget priorities must follow.
Build the African boer! In ensuring food security in our country, we must concentrate on building an African boer from a small-scale farmer to a viable commercial one. The African boer is loyal to South Africa and its people across class, colour and creed. The African boer must, of necessity, care for workers' rights. The African boer must care for the welfare and needs of the workers. That African boer does not have a skin colour. Therefore that African boer can be either an ET or a JM. [Laughter.]
We hold the view that says there is no one who will or must shoot anyone. That African boer must always proudly host our South African flag everywhere. In protecting these African boers, we all have the duty to defend innocent lives. Equally, as these African boers are being defended, they have a responsibility to defend and champion the rights of their workers. The welfare of these innocent workers needs to be defended at all costs by these African boers.
The education of these workers must be protected through partnerships between African boers and basic education. During election time, the African boer must, of necessity, allow the workers to exercise their hard-won democratic right of casting their votes as and when they choose. [Applause.] Do not make them work on voting days.
As part of our rural development strategy and also broadly of our developmental state agenda, working together with the Departments of Basic Education, Higher Education and Training, Labour, Rural Development and Land Reform, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries must ensure that all schools in rural- and farming- community areas are provided with agricultural, forestry and fishery science subjects.
Also, through the Department of Labour, adult workers must be taught to understand their rights so as to protect themselves from further exploitation, oppression and abuse. Working together with higher education, co-ordination among colleges of agriculture and forestry must be effected as a matter of urgency. One of the major goals of these exercises must be about building the scarce skills required in the fields of agriculture, forestry and fisheries. This will go a long way in ensuring skills development in areas where agriculture, forestry and fisheries are a source of livelihood and for now they must be nurtured among these communities.
Fellow countymen and –women, in line with the hon Pravin Gordhan's Budget Speech, I quote:
Under the leadership of the Department of Labour, initiatives are in progress to improve information services to help young people access jobs and training opportunities. We propose to support these reforms through a subsidy to employers that will lower the cost of hiring young people without work experience. Under
consideration is a cash reimbursement to employers for a two-year period.
The aim is to target 800 000 of these young people. Whilst we have programmes dedicated to the youth and women, the ANC is of the view that we need to do more in a targeted fashion in benchmarking our progress, so that when we say the added cash injection towards growing commercial farmers has to increase from R780 000 to R800 000 in 2010 to 2011, we need to know how many are young people, how many are women and how many are people living with disabilities. Partnerships with agencies, such as the National Youth Development Agency, for the youth through external bursary schemes, young professional development programmes, and experimental, experiential, internship and training programmes must be visible.
As we speak, these young people are still found wanting when accessing these opportunities. Rural development partnerships with the department will certainly benefit young and old women in agriculture.
The last point I want to make is regarding transformation. The above only addresses in part the transformation of the sector in our country. However, a lot still needs to be done in the critical areas of food security in our country. In agriculture alone, partnerships that are established through the Land Redistribution for Agricultural Development programmes only end up at the production level, with the experienced white farmers running the whole lucrative value chain of packaging, processing and marketing locally and internationally. In some instances, black farmers are locked into finance schemes or into having to sell only to the service provider, that is a white farmer who happens to be a white farmer with his or her own produce. The ANC supports this Budget Vote. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Prof L B G Ndabandaba): We thank the hon Johnson, particularly for teaching this House a new phrase: "African boer". [Applause.]
END OF TAKE
Dr L L BOSMAN
Mr M JOHNSON
Dr L L BOSMAN: Mr Chairman, hon Minister, in last year's Budget Vote I expressed the view that I sincerely hoped that under your leadership, agriculture would at last get the necessary attention it needed and again be recognised for the important role it played in providing food and fibre to the nation, creating job opportunities and playing an important role in the economy of the country.
Die staat, en dus die Minister en haar departement, speel 'n belangrike rol in die sektor om suksesvolle ontwikkeling en mededingendheid te verseker. Bowenal, moet 'n beleidsbedeling vertroue inboesem wat rolspelers sal aanmoedlg om Suid-Afrika as 'n voorkeur bestemming vir investering te beskou.
Dit is egter teleurstellend dat die Landbou weereens nie deur die Begroting van uiterste belang vir die land se ekonomiese groei en stabiliteit, uitgesonder is nie.
The total appropriation to this sector amounts to only R3,658 billion of the total governmental budget of R907 billion. It is a mere 0,4%, and far below the agreed 10% of the African Union Maputo Declaration signed by South Africa a few years ago.
The agricultural sector is also not sharing in the R 3,6 billion allocated to the Department of Trade and Industry for industrial policy interventions, in line with the new Industrial Policy Action Plan, simply because agriculture is left out of this plan.
The DA envisages and will work towards a profitable, sustainable agricultural sector in South Africa. However, the reality is that the recent global economic downturn is clearly beginning to show its impact on the agricultural sector. Farmers find it increasingly difficult to maintain profit margins as a result of high production costs and low commodity prices. This results in a decline in net farm income, cash flow and, again, a rise in farm debt.
The DA believes that the following issues are critical to food security, and you, as the responsible Minister, should give urgent attention to these issues. From the budget it became clear that the current human resources, ICT capacity and the budget allocation are not adequate to deliver the required level of management and services. Furthermore, the units that must render support are not at the required operational level and are not adequately capacitated to render the required services.
I also noticed that after a year in office, structures in the department are still not in place. You are still operating with acting director-generals and acting deputy directors, as well as a vacancy rate of 17% in the department. In short, I believe that the department is still dysfunctional as attention and feedback on important issues are not forthcoming. This results in the sector losing millions of rand in export earnings and investment opportunities. My advice to the Minister is to implement a turnaround strategy as a matter of urgency.
Taking into account the importance of research for the sector, it became clear that the Agricultural Research Council is grossly underfunded and that many posts are currently vacant. About 90% of the parliamentary budget is spent on salaries, leaving very little for executing its research mandate. It is estimated that about R300 million is needed annually to help address the personnel and other constraints.
A further problem to be corrected is the fact that the agricultural research facilities are fragmented into provincial research institutes under the control of provincial governments. They are mostly dysfunctional and scientists are continuing to leave the institutes, while the ARC has no jurisdiction over the institutions or the research that they have been allocated.
Onderstepoort Biological Products is rendering a world-class service to the livestock industry but has to survive without any budgetary support from government. The ageing buildings and research facilities need a financial influx of between R500 and R800 million. The vital role that Onderstepoort plays has just again been illustrated by the uncontrolled outbreak of Rift Valley fever in the country. Again, Minister, it sounds a warning of failure on your part to control the outbreak effectively.
Minister, from a written question to you, you admitted that, as part of a bilateral agreement with Zambia, you intend to import sable
antelope from Zambia, a country which is endemically infested with foot-and-mouth disease.
The DA is opposed to this importation as this case is not only about the unnecessary importation of the sable from Zambia, but certainly about the necessity to meticulously implement existing national and international regulations in order to protect the local livestock industry's export and disease-free status. Import permits must therefore be handled and issued with the utmost care and in compliance with legislation regulating it.
The closure of the export of meat and other products to the European Union and other importing countries will have disastrous financial consequences for the farmers and the industry at large.
It has also come to the DA's notice that the head of the National Directorate, Veterinary Services, Dr Maja, as well as a number of senior staff members in the Directorate of Veterinary Services and
Food Safety and Quality Control, have either been dismissed or demoted from their posts, apparently because, Minister, you were not satisfied that they were opposed to the issuing of the necessary permits for the importation of these Zambian sable.
This, Minister, simply cannot be a coincidence and you need to explain today, firstly, why these people have been removed from their posts and, secondly, whether you have any interest, financially or otherwise, in the importation of these Zambian sable.
As a result of government's continued confrontational stance to commercial agriculture, we have seen a huge disinvestment and a decline in employment. We have also seen an exodus of producers from this important sector to other countries in Africa.
The threats issued to South African farmers by Minister Nkwinti, that they would be held responsible for a worst-than-Zimbabwe-like situation, if they are not working in support of transforming the land in terms of historically disadvantaged black people through nationalisation, we believe is totally uncalled for and misplaced.
The DA is of the view that nationalisation equals expropriation without compensation, and will result in the demise of the cornerstone of the country's economy, causing total disruption of food production and disinvestment from the sector.
Politicians should also stop making double-talk statements to the detriment of the country. Food security is of the utmost importance for continued growth of the economy and job creation in South Africa. The DA would advise that government review the failure of their land reform programmes by ensuring that the new land beneficiaries have adequate post-settlement financial and other support. People with an interest in farming need to be identified. They need to be trained and have proper mentorship programmes and partnership agreements with former landowners in place to ensure that production is maintained.
I also believe that the extension services should be strengthened by commodity-based mentorships through which great successes have been achieved in the past.
Daar is 'n behoefte aan 'n landbouhandelsbeleid wat beter na Suid-Afrika se belange sal omsien. Daar is 'n behoefte aan 'n beleid wat 'n balans moet handhaaf tussen enersyds, die voedselbekostigbaarheids vraagstuk, teenoor die meriete daarvan, om die effek van onregverdige invoer wat deur die regering gesubsidieerde word, met toepaslike invoertariewe te neutraliseer.
Beleidsriglyne hiervoor bestaan reeds geruime tyd, maar dit word nie toegepas nie. Deur nié tariewe toe te pas nie, word die regeringsuitbreiding van plaaslike produksie benadeel, wat sou kon bydra tot verbeterde voedselsekerheid, werkskepping, landelike ontwikkeling en selfs uitvoere. Huidiglik, wag die koringprodusente steeds dringend op die uitkoms van 'n tarief aansoek by die Kommissie vir Internasionale Handel en Administrasie.
The fact that Minister Sexwale is blaming farmers for millions of people living in more than 2 600 squatter camps around the country, because many farmers chased millions of black people off their farms, is completely misplaced and he is showing his ignorance of the facts.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe recently alleged that farmers exploit foreign nationals by reducing them to cheap labour and that this results in farmers being killed out of anger and revenge. This statement is profoundly misguided and ignores the facts surrounding this sensitive issue.
The facts are that more than 3 000 farmers, black and white, have been murdered since 1990. This is a trend that is still continuing and escalating. Very few, if any, of these murders were the result of foreigners employed on farms. Instead, there is a strong case to be made that a significant number are the consequences of inflammatory speeches by political leaders, including Julius Malema stubbornly and continually singing the "Kill the farmer, kill the boer" song.
Certainly, a great many are the consequences of nothing more than crime and inflamed hatred, as the gruesome circumstances surrounding many farm attacks attests to. The recent unnecessary and brutal murder of Mr Eugene Terre'Blanche and the circumstances surrounding it have harmed reconciliation as well as the image of the country internationally.
In closure, the DA looks forward towards a more constructive relationship with the Minister and her department in order to take agricultural development, food security and our country forward. I thank you. [Applause.]
END OF TAKE
Ms D CARTER
Dr L L BOSMAN
Ms D CARTER: Hon House Chairperson, Ministers, members and esteemed guests in the gallery, the President stated in his state of the nation address that 2010 was the year of action, the year in which government would work harder and faster, prioritising education, health, rural development and land reform, creating decent jobs and fighting crime.
Agriculture affects the daily lives of each and every individual in our society and should be at the core of government's programme. Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs. South Africa has 14 million people that are vulnerable to food insecurity.
Hon Minister, during your 2009 Budget Vote you stated that for the first time since the 1800s that the agriculture sector was bigger than the mining sector and had the potential to create the highest number of jobs per one million rand investment. But, in reality, instead of creating jobs the sector has shed 57 000 jobs. This must impact on government's rural development programme.
Hon Minister, at the recently held Agri SA conference you stated that there had been a steady decline in agricultural productivity during the period 1994 and 2009, and that the area under agricultural production had in fact declined by 30%, leading to 40% more imports and, that, mostly of processed foods.
Hon Minister, you further indicated that R11,9 million was allocated to research and development in the department, and that a further R573,1 million to the Agricultural Research Council in order to continue satisfying the research needs in agriculture.
Hon Minister, I want to ask you the question: When will the Agricultural Research Council board be appointed? Further, researchers are still leaving for ARC. What are we doing to keep them there? There is definitely not enough funding. I also want to ask: Why has the National Agricultural Research and Development Strategy not been implemented as yet? It's been a good couple of years now.
Hon Minister Nkwinti recently admitted that land redistribution had failed the agricultural sector, and that at least 90% of the 5,9 million hectares that the state had bought for emerging farmers was no longer productive. We need to ask ourselves the question why. In the modern farming world, farming is a business with more variables that most other businesses. It's a high-risk business.
Hon Minister, can we take a mechanic and ask him to do heart surgery? I would not. Besides practical skills, it is vital for emerging farmers to get the necessary technical, operational - with a sound product and environmental knowledge – and, very importantly, financial and business skills and access to resources and funding.
These emerging farmers don't hold title deeds. Most of them live and have lived far below the bread and butter line. How do we expect them to source financial aid and be productive? It is not the emerging farmers that have failed in terms of food security in our country, but this very government.
A visit to the Eastern Cape recently, by the portfolio committee, revealed that a PTO – permission to occupy - took eight months to be issued. And when it was eventually issued, it was valid for only one year.
It was also found that subsistence fishing communities, that are totally reliant upon fishing for their livelihoods, were in dire straits because of the administrative bungling over the renewal of their concessions.
Government departments require an urgent shake-up, to have effective and skilled people in decision-making posts, and need to be devoid of political deployments and corruption.
Hon Minister, I must add that I appreciate your undertaking to appoint and fill positions, especially that of the department's director-general. Hon Minister Nkwinti stated that government has spent billions buying going concerns with the hope that production would continue, only to see them collapse. Once again, we need to ask the question why? Claims are not settled on time and, in some cases, they have taken years, putting the farmers into a bad situation. This affects not only the farmers, but, as we have also found, the people waiting to go to the farms in that they have a problem too because they are not getting what they were promised.
More recently, hon Minister Nkwinti's department created much unnecessary confusion regarding future land tenure rights. Now one wonders, given the ANC Youth League's recent visit to Zimbabwe, just what the ANC's standpoint is on this issue.
Cope asks that there be urgent intervention in respect of the electricity hikes. Milk production will cost an estimated R1,22 per litre more in 2011, and as much as R5,04 a litre more in 2014. Society cannot even afford it now. If we look at this year's maize demands, the country requires 9 million tons, but the National Crop Estimates Committee predicts that there are 13 to 15 million tons available.
We all know how supply and demand affects the prices. Currently, production costs per ton of maize amount to R1 500 a ton. The current market value is R900 per ton. This amounts to a loss of 40% of the actual investment cost.
Secondly, South African farmers are suffering from unfair competition from highly subsidised imports through dumping, which undercuts local produces. Now, we need to ask ourselves a question: When did cotton production in our country stop? Could it be because of the 67% under-cost imports during the period 1996 to 2007?
Cope feels strongly that there is an urgent need to look at workable tariff policies, subsidies and alternative usages for excess production. There should be a production quota set for supply to the food market and, if that exceeds the quota, the excess should be put to other uses.
I think we should also consider looking into biofuels. This would ensure that production would continue and that farmers would not have to be concerned about overproduction and losses, which, in a year with unfavourable conditions, could lead to serious food security challenges. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr R N CEBEKHULU
Ms D CARTER
Mr R N CEBEKHULU: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister and Deputy Minister, hon members, the IFP believes this to be the most critical Vote particularly for improving security.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has the immense task of ensuring that our country does not rely solely on imported foodstuffs.
The department must look at ways in which the government can assist our own farmers in being as competitive as their overseas counterparts, ways in which we can assist the farmers in lowering production costs thereby ensuring cheaper retail prices for consumers. The department must also look at ways in which we can boost our own agricultural sector by assisting our farmers in a manner which will lead to increased food production and also encourage South Africans to buy and support local foodstuffs.
In order for this to be a success, the department must ensure that people living on communal land receive assistance in obtaining farming equipment and in developing skills, and training must be encouraged, at the very least, for them to be self-sufficient.
The IFP applauds the department on its programmes of support services, trade and agricultural development, food and biosecurity, but, at the same time, tasks the department to do more. We have high rate of unemployment, and breadwinners are unable to support their families. These people must be prioritised and assisted by the department.
Genetically modified foods need to be analysed very carefully for harmful chemicals used their production, as these chemicals eventually end up in the blood systems of consumers and some of these chemicals have been known to have very dangerous health implications. The department is responsibile to the people of South Africa to conduct all the necessary due diligence tests on genetically modified food crops.
From 1 to 3 February 2010, the portfolio committee visited the Ministry's farming projects in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. These projects are dismal failures. The money spent on acquiring these farms has been wasted for the simple reason that the farms are not productive. In fact, they are producing nothing. Wherein lies the problem? And how can we learn from this so that it does not occur again?
The IFP hopes that in the department's new approach of categorising farmers into three groupings, the Minister will provide a clear allocation of funding for these categories, an approach which will maximise and promote the best yields.
The Minister has also indicated that the department will be providing a R50-million allocation per province for the purchase of tractors and other farming equipment for rural and previously disadvantaged communities. The IFP welcomes this move as it will go a long way towards improving the lives of a great many South Africans.
There are still numerous challenges though, one of them being an adequate water supply for rural farming communities. It has been said that rivers are drying up owing to an infestation of alien plant growth. This must be investigated and addressed by the department as a matter of urgency as a lack of water leads to poor crops and grazing land. Another challenge is the recent outbreak of Rift Valley fever, which must also be quickly isolated and eradicated.
That being said, the IFP supports the Budget Vote. I thank you. [Applause.]
END OF TAKE
Ms M N PHALISO
Mr R N CEBEKHULU
Ms M N PHALISO: Hon House Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members and guests, April 2010 marks a significant step in the development, management and administration of fisheries for consumptive use, aquaculture and mariculture in South Africa. It is the first time in the history of our nation that these essential productive, economic and food security activities fall under the administration and direction of the Ministry of Agriculture.
In May 2009, the President of the Republic of South Africa significantly reshuffled and restructured the executive Cabinet of the Republic. In terms of this process, the new Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and of Water and Environmental Affairs were created. In June 2009, executive administration over marine fisheries and coastal management, including administration over the Marine and Coastal Management branch and all legislation administered by this branch, was transferred in accordance with section 97 of the Constitution to the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries was granted executive control over maritime aquaculture. This required a splitting of marine and coastal management functions and the associated legislative authority in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act, Act 18 of 1998. However, on 6 December 2009, the President confirmed to the South African public that fishery is an economic activity and not a purely environmental one. The President further announced that, following consultation with Cabinet, it had been decided to amend the initial decision to split executive control over Fisheries and that, in due course, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries would be appointed and would assume sole responsibility for all administration of fisheries for consumptive use, aquaculture and mariculture in the Republic.
Accordingly, on 29 January, Proclamation No 1 of 2010 contained in Government Gazette No 32945 was signed, and all legislative powers and functions assented thereto took effect on 1 April 2010. Owing to an oversight, certain legislative powers and functions related to the Marine Living Resources Act, Act 18 of 1998, and the Integrated Coastal Management Act, Act 24 of 2008, were not appropriately transferred. A process is therefore currently under way to ensure that all Acts and legislative powers and functions related to fisheries for consumption, aquaculture and mariculture are transferred lock, stock and barrel to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries with immediate effect.
Regarding improving the number of sustainable training and employment opportunities and the overall financial contribution from the consumptive fisheries, aquaculture and mariculture sectors and under the leadership of hon Minister Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is about to embark on a number of dynamic initiatives to significantly improve the overall contribution that is annually derived from these sectors of the Republic. These initiatives will include, among other things, I hope, the following. The first initiative is stepping up our collective monitoring, control and surveillance capacity and technology, in partnership with all security cluster ministers and agencies, to eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities generally and, in particular, poaching and illicit marketing streams.
The second initiative involves employing internationally recognised specialists to conduct a complete value-chain analysis of each of South Africa's 22 commercial fishery sectors over the next 12 months, to ensure that our fisheries' workforce, industry, fiscus, and the nation as a whole in a developing economy enjoy maximum benefit and financial advantage from our natural marine resource base. Notably, we will work in partnership with industry to ensure that the contribution from the value-adding of raw South African fish produce is significantly enhanced, while promoting stronger direct relationships between industry and local foreign retailers.
The third initiative entails creating the necessary framework to substantially attract and encourage significant investment in the emergent aquaculture, mariculture and ranch farming sectors - that is, the marine, estuarine and land-based sectors of our economy - with particular emphasis on investment, training and skills development within the economies of our rural, inland and coastal communities.
The fourth initiative is employing specialist expertise to conduct an in-depth empowerment audit of the fisheries sector, to ensure that the agenda set for transformation and skills transference at all levels of industry - small, medium and large – is appropriately achieved throughout the value chain. In this regard, we note that, while stability in the industry must be strictly maintained at all times, there is an urgent need to ensure that the ownership of access to the billions generated annually from our nation's natural marine resource base must increasingly become more demographically representative of South African society, with specific emphasis on the poorest of the poor.
The last initiative entails rapidly working towards the conclusion of official policy to accommodate the broad-based empowerment interests of small fishers from traditional coastal fishing communities.
The allocation of long-term fishing rights in 2005 has brought with it considerable levels of transformation and the stability required to encourage investment in the medium and large sectors of the fishing economy. However, the plight of the poor and, in particular, the human and constitutional rights of bona fide traditional fishers, has not been appropriately accommodated, Minister. These customs, cultural traditions and heritage that have been in practice for centuries must be restored with increased but sustainable access, in particular to national marine resources that occur on the doorstep of small-scale fishers from our coastal communities. In the short to medium term, this will be achieved by the balanced review and negotiated amendment of policy allocations and legislation.
It is therefore pleasing to note that the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and that Marine and Coastal Management remain committed to conditionally lifting the suspension over commercial abalone fishing in Hamburg in the Eastern Cape and in Hermanus. This is urgent, Minister. It is also urgent in Hermanus. The President, the Minister, and the Minister of Environmental Affairs were there. It is urgent. Lifting the suspension will ensure the imminent restoration of up to 1 000 sustainable livelihood opportunities for coastal community breadwinners and their dependants, with significant potential to increase these opportunities in the medium to long term.
The reopening of the abalone fishery is informed by the international peer-reviewed scientific report of the Abalone Working Group on the current status of abalone stock, with strategic recommendations to support the resource's ability to recover.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has also committed itself to a significant investment in the establishment of a state hatchery to culture and reseed the abalone resource and fishing zones that have hitherto been illicitly plundered. In consultation with all abalone rights holders, Minister, your department is also working currently towards the establishment of an abalone recovery development council, a duly representative body to be established in accordance with sections 5 and 6 of the Marine Living Resources Act, Act 18 of 1998.
The nominated representatives of the council will represent a wide range of scientific, academic, industry, community and socioeconomic expertise, that will work strategically towards developing a new abalone governance and management framework that will: firstly, guide the reopening of the abalone fishery; secondly, facilitate stock recovery; thirdly, sustain livelihoods; fourthly, establish strong institutional structures; fifthly, ensure the long-term sustainability of the fisheries; and, finally, minimise illegal exploitation with an intelligence-driven approach that isolates syndicates, illicit racketeers and poachers from the social base in coastal communities through co-operative management structures and community mobilisation under a policy of zero tolerance.
In association with coastal community mobilisation and the strategic security cluster initiative referred to above, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Marine and Coastal Management Unit are confident that the difficulties experienced in abalone fishery, and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing generally in South Africa can be overcome. The statistics on fishing are misleading.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Marine and Coastal Management are also confident that the gap between the interests of the wealthy and of the poor in the fishing industry can, and will be, positively addressed, particularly by the rapid conclusion of official policy to accommodate the bona fide interests of small-scale fishers. This is essential if our people, especially the poor and marginalised, are to benefit and share in the wealth of our country generated through our natural marine resources.
These initiatives are doomed to failure if we do not combat the tendencies of fronting and the sale of fishing rights. In this regard, I propose that the sale of fishing rights and fronting in this industry be investigated. I thank you, Chairperson. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr P J GROENEWALD
Ms M N PHALISO
Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Voorsitter, die agb Minister het die begrafnis van Eugene Terre'blanche bygewoon. Agb Minister, dit is reg. U het die regte ding gedoen. Ek aanvaar dit is simbolies dat u sê plaasmoorde is verkeerd.
But, hon Minister, I want to say to you that your main responsibility is to ensure food security in South Africa. However, you are confronted with a couple of problems, and those problems are not created by the farmers but by your own colleagues in the ANC.
I want to start with your youth leader, Julius Malema. Besides the fact that his biggest problem is that his arrogance exceeds his intelligence, the fact that he is using hate speech and that you, as Minister – do not let your arrogance exceed your intelligence, okay? – do not repudiate him and tell him to stop means you are creating a problem. There was an expectation that you, as the Minister, should have stood up for the farmers.
'n Ander probleem is ook u kollega, die Minister van Grondhervorming. Dié agb Minister sê in sy begrotingsdebat dat, met sekere beperkinge, is private grond verseker, maar hy sê nie wat is die beperkinge nie. Twee of drie dae daarna, kom sê hy dat die beloftes van die struggle - dat grond genasionaliseer moet word – ook sy persoonlike standpunt is. Dit, agb Minister, bedreig voedselsekuriteit in Suid-Afrika. Die boere wil sekerheid hê.
Die derde aspek is u kollega, die Minister van Handel en Nywerheid. Die koringboere moet plant. U het netnou hier gesê die broodprys moet teen kosprys wees. Wie gaan dit teen kosprys lewer? Wie gaan 'n bestand kan maak? Ek wil vandag vir u sê, as u nie met u kollega praat nie, gaan daar nie koring wees om teen kosprys verkoop te word nie. U moet optree teen hierdie aspekte.
Agb Minister, verlede jaar toe u die Minister geword het, het ek tydens u nooienstoespraak vir u gesê u is moontlik die reënkoningin vir die boere. U het goed weggespring. Die reën het begin val. Maar u moet nie toelaat dat die donderweer nou begin oorneem nie. Die boere soek nie hael op hulle oeste nie. Dit is u verantwoordelikheid. Dit is u taak. Die boere kyk op na u om hulle te beskerm, ook teen daardie kollegas van u wat uitsprake maak wat hulle sekuriteit en hulle veiligheid bedreig.
Dit geld ook vir die Minister van Polisie. Die misdaadstatistiek vir plaasmoorde was altyd bekend. Skielik is dit nie bekend nie. U moet u invloed gebruik om vir u Minister te sê om daardie statistiek bekend te stel sodat ons kan sien wat die probleem is. Dan kan ons die probleme oplos, en plaasmoorde 'n prioriteitsmisdaad maak.
Voorsitter, my tyd is verstreke. Ek weet dit. Ek wil net op 'n punt van orde vra: Is dit toelaatbaar dat gaste in die galery tussenwerpsels en aanmerkings maak as lede praat? Ek is bereid om hulle enige tyd buitekant te sien. Ek sal hulle vierkantig in die oë kyk. Dit is teen die reëls dat daar mense is wat opmerkings maak sonder dat u, as Voorsitter, optree, want dan kom u ook nie u plig na nie.
END OF TAKE
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES
Mnr P J GROENEWALD
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Hon Chairman, the majority of people gathered here today are attending this debate because agriculture is important to them. Unfortunately, in my experience, the majority of South Africans disregard the important role of agriculture in South Africa. They do not realise that there is a direct connection between the food they buy at the local Nando's and the farmers who produced it.
One of the reasons for this is the declining contribution of agriculture to GDP in South Africa. Whereas agriculture contributed to about 10% of GDP in South Africa in the 1960s, it has only amounted to around 3% in the past five years. This has left agriculture vulnerable, obscuring the sector's true contribution in terms of food supply, economic linkages and multipliers, agriculture's employment-creation capacity, and its role as a foreign-exchange earner.
The fact is that more than 8% of South Africa's merchandised, non-gold exports are primary agricultural products. The media, economists, and everyone present here should give more recognition to this and help to change these misconceptions with regard to agriculture in South Africa.
Meneer, voedselsekuriteit word wêreldwyd skielik weer op die politieke agenda geplaas. So was voedselsekuriteit een van die punte op die agenda by die onlangse G8-beraad in Italië, asook by die G20-beraad. Enigiemand wat in Suid-Afrika oor voedselsekuriteit praat en die kommersiële boere uitsluit, is onrealisties en weet nie waarvan hy of sy praat nie. Alle landboustatistiek bevestig dit. Daarom die meer realistiese benadering by die Departement van Landbou, Bosbou en Visserye om te erken dat bestaansboere, nommer een, kleinboere, en kommersiële boere belangrike rolspelers is om van landbou in Suid-Afrika 'n sukses te maak.
Vir te lank het daar 'n konfrontasieverhouding bestaan tussen die regering en veral die kommersiële boere. Gaan kyk gerus na lande waar die landbou baie suksesvol is. In daardie lande is daar altyd 'n positiewe vennotskapverhouding tussen die regering, aan die een kant, en die boere, aan die ander kant.
In South Africa we deregulated and liberalised our agricultural marketing and trading arrangements 14 years ago. The agricultural sector has, fortunately, adjusted to high levels of competitiveness across most value chains, and we are starting to address our poverty and food security problems. But protectionism practices in some parts of the world put unfair pressure on our farmers to compete on an equal basis. Therefore we will continue to argue for the successful conclusion of the Doha Development Agenda at the WTO.
Sir, during the meeting of the G20 that took place in Pittsburgh in September last year, the leaders released a declaration that includes the following on trade, and I quote:
We remain committed to further trade liberalisation. We are determined to seek an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha Development Round in 2010, consistent with its mandate, based on the progress already made, including with regard to modalities.
Unfortunately, this kind of message was also included in previous declarations of the G20, but it has not been translated into real action in order to conclude the negotiations. This raises the question as to whether the United States would be willing to continue working on the basis of the draft Modality text, or if they will continue their demands for increased market access from the bigger developing countries, including South Africa.
According to the 2008 Nobel Memorial Prize winner in Economic Sciences, Paul Krugman, countries engage in international trade for two basic reasons, each of which contributes to their gain from trade. Firstly, countries trade because they are different from each other. Nations, like individuals, can benefit from their differences by reaching an arrangement in which each does the things he does relatively well.
Secondly, countries trade to achieve economies of scale in production. That is, if each country produces only a limited range of goods, it can produce each of these goods on a larger scale, and hence, more efficiently than if it tried to produce everything. In the real world, patterns of these are reflected, then, in the interaction between different countries.
Mr Chairman, our trading partners span the globe and enjoy the best of South Africa's agricultural, forestry and fishery produce. Let me give you two examples: One, South Africa is the most reliable source of quality mohair, and produces 54% of total world production. Two, South African ostrich production is one of the top twenty agro-based industries in the country and it ranks high for export, with a total investment in ostrich activities exceeding R2,1 billion.
In vandag se hoogs kompeterende landbou-omgewing is wetenskaplike landbou-inligting noodsaaklik ten einde suksesvol te kan boer, en internasionaal te kan meeding. Akkurate oesskatting is een van die belangrikste instrumente in hierdie verband.
The Crop Estimates Committee, as established by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, is currently responsible for providing crop forecasts and estimates of summer grain and winter cereal crops in South Africa. As part of the effort to improve the crop estimation and forecasting system in South Africa, the National Crop Statistics Consortium was established in 2002.
I personally had the privilege recently of being invited to see the estimation process, and I must say I was most impressed by the methods used. One of the systems developed by the Consortium is the Producer Independent Crop Estimates System, which incorporates world-class technology like remote earth observation based on satellite and airborne imagery. It is important that the funding of the Crop Estimates System be continued in future, given the role it plays.
According to the Crop Estimates Committee, the 2010-11 harvest season could yield a bumper commercial crop of approximately 13 million tons of maize, which is the largest crop since the record 14,2 million tons harvested in the 1981-82 season. Based on the country's rate of consumption, which is approximately 9,5 million tons, projections for the coming 2010-11 maize marketing season indicate that South Africa will have a surplus of approximately three million tons of maize at the end of April 2011. Perhaps you know all the implications of that. It is also interesting to note that the Crop Estimates Committee has only overestimated the commercial maize crop twice since the 1993-94 production season.
In die Landbouweekblad van 19 Maart vanjaar word erkenning gegee aan Mnr Rodney Dredge van die departement en die voorsitter van die oesskattingskomitee. Manie skryf daaroor soos volg, en ek haal hom aan:
Die finale lewerings volgens die Suid-Afrikaanse Graaninligtingsdiens verskil glad nie so veel van die skattings nie. Die gemiddelde afwyking is minder as die wêreldnorm van 5% oor of onder. Moet dus nie vir Rodney en sy span vlak kyk nie – hul werk is van wêreldgehalte.
The production forecast for commercial soya beans is 588 000 tons, which will be the largest crop ever produced in South Africa. This is also 14% higher than the previous season's crop of 516 000 tons. With reference to commercial sunflower seed, the production forecast is 502 000 tons, which is drastically lower, namely 37% lower, than the crop size of the previous season, which was in the order of 800 000 tons. As noted, we have a good system in place for crops.
I therefore turn my attention to that of animal recording, which is of equal importance in South Africa, to the Integrated Registration and Genetic Information System, Intergis, under the provisions of the Animal Improvement Act, Act 62 of 1998. As a computerised programme for the benefit of all - for stock owners as primary beneficiaries, as well as other interested bodies and institutions, and the secondary beneficiaries, such as the SA Stud Book and Animal Improvement Association - Intergis has proven to be one of the most efficient animal identification and improvement tools in the world. It is also recognised by the International Committee for Animal Recording as an approved system for international use.
The Agricultural Research Council plays a key role in animal recording and improvement, from basic research to the management of specific recording and evaluation schemes, including, specifically, small-scale farmer participation. A three-year contract was given to the ARC to manage Intergis on behalf of the department, and I think we must look at this.
In South Africa, approximately 68% of total land is used for grazing purposes, but only 14% is classified as potentially arable land. Clearly, most of the land in South Africa is used for red meat farming, and is not suitable for anything else. The livestock industry in South Africa also contributed around 42% of the gross value of agricultural production between 1996 and 2008. This is the highest for the agricultural subsectors in the country.
It is worth knowing that the livestock industry in South Africa is characterised by a high level of dualism. For example, it is estimated that around 40% of the cattle in South Africa is in the hands of emerging or small-scale farmers. Also, in provinces like KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, there are more cattle in the hands of this group of farmers than in the hands of commercial farmers. This group of farmers can make a huge contribution to rural development and the upliftment of the poor in rural areas.
However, they have many challenges that must be addressed. Let me give a few examples: firstly, State Veterinary Services are understaffed; secondly, damage-causing animals, where losses are estimated at R1 billion per annum; and, finally, stock theft. In the previous year, losses of animals reported stolen, minus the numbers recovered by the Stock Theft Unit of the Police, are: 34 000 head of cattle, with a monetary value of R255 million; 28 000 goats with a value of R40 million; and 60 000 sheep, valued at R71 million. In total, 152 000 animals were stolen, with a total monetary value of R366 million. This is a very serious situation.
The Animal Identification Act, Act 6 of 2002, requires the owners of all cattle, goats, pigs and sheep to have their animals marked with a registered mark that is allocated to a legal person, on application and payment of a prescribed fee, by the Registrar of Animal Identification. At the end of this financial year, more than 504 000 of these marks were allocated to animal owners to be used on all their animals, as prescribed. Such marks are also the first line of defence against stock theft, as they can act as a deterrent. In a court of law, it is the only positive proof of ownership of the said kinds of animal.
Benefits of animal identification and tracking for the individual farmer, as well as for the country as a whole, include: managing disease outbreaks; tracing food safety incidents; improved animal selection, production and husbandry; disease surveillance; and certification, to guarantee consumer confidence in animal products and thus also increase the possibility for international trade. The department proclaimed stock theft as a priority and it sees an increase in livestock production as one of its priorities, as many citizens of Africa are dependent on the livestock that they own.
The department is administering the relatively new Animal Identification Act – "Aida" - of 2002, which was promulgated to provide a system of identifying ownership of animals. At present, the hon Minister has defined cattle, goats, pigs and sheep as animals under this Act. The department, together with the Stock Theft Unit of the SAPS, is working on a zero-tolerance approach towards animal identification as the first step.
Currently, the department is assisting animal owners of cattle, goats, pigs, and sheep to register and obtain an Aida mark. These will include subsistence, emerging, small-scale and commercial farmers. At present, not even 50% of these animals are marked, and thus, contact sessions will be conducted in communities, municipalities and provinces with subsistence, emerging and commercial animal farmers and owners. A further step in helping livestock producers will be to prepare a system whereby all applications for brand marks can be submitted to the provincial headquarters of the Department of Agriculture in the province.
The department currently administers 33 pieces of legislation. Some of these laws go back to the beginning of the previous century. We are currently reviewing legislation. The main objective is to review, revitalise and/or repeal those laws currently administered, to ensure that the key strategic outcomes of the department are realised. All stakeholders' comments are more than welcome, and are thus encouraged.
Meneer, die Suid-Afrikaanse moordsyfer is 37 uit elke 100 000 van die bevolking, terwyl die wêreldgemiddeld vir moord omtrent 5 per 100 000 is. Dit beteken dat 50 mense vandag in Suid-Afrika vermoor gaan word, en 50 elke dag vir die res van die jaar. As daar na moord op plaasboere en hul werkers gekyk word, gaan die syfer op na oor die 200 per 100 000 van die bevolking. Plaasmoorde vind dikwels op die wreedste maniere plaas, soos ons die afgelope week gesien het.
Is daar 'n rede waarom moorde op plase nie as afsonderlike statistiek gegee kan word nie? Die boerderygemeenskap aanvaar die rede is dat plaasmoorde, van wit en swart, nie as belangrik gesien word nie.
Landelike ontwikkeling is met reg een van die prioriteite van die regering. In my kontak die afgelope 11 maande met landbouers dwars oor die land besef hulle die belangrikheid hiervan, en bied hulle hulle hulp aan. Vir landelike ontwikkeling is dit belangrik dat veral kommersiële boere meer werkgeleenthede skep. Die kommersiële boere vra my hoe jy meer werkgeleentlede kan skep en jou boerdery kan uitbrei as jy na 15 jaar steeds nie seker is – seker of jy jou grond gaan behou nie; jou buurman is vermoor en jy is nie seker of jy vannag 'n plaasaanval gaan kry nie.
Die afgelope paar weke het ons gesien hoe maklik dit is vir enkele individue om met rassisme en onverantwoordelike uitlatings die hele land teen mekaar op te sweep. Meneer, dit is maklike politiek om mense negatief teen mekaar op te sweep en so te mobiliseer. Ek kan dit ook doen. Jy doen dit deur ongegronde stellings oor grond te maak, oor boere, oor hulle arbeiders, en so meer.
Om so te veralgemeen, sê ek vir u, is altyd verkeerd. Ek kry dit by die algemene publiek, ek kry dit in die parlement, ek kry dit in die media. 'n Voorbeeld is die stelling dat alle swart boere misluk. Meneer, daar ís swart boere wat misluk, maar dit is 'n veralgemening wat op almal geprojekteer word terwyl daar suksesvolle swart boere is. Ek het hulle besoek.
As gevolg van presies dieselfde sort veralgemenings word die kommersiële boere in Suid-Afrika nog te maklik as die probleem en nie as deel van die oplossing gesien nie. Dit hou veral verband met die eensydige media- en propaganda-persepsies wat geskep word wanneer daar iewers op 'n plaas konflik of 'n rassevoorval was. Dit word dan op 'n onbillike wyse op all boere geprojekteer.
Die feit dat landbouleiers en georganiseerde landbou dit veroordeel word geïgnoreer ten gunste van veralgemenings dat alle boere selfsugtig is, almal onderdruk hulle werkers, almal buit hulle werkers uit. Dit is net eenvoudig nie waar nie. My ervaring die afgelope tyd is presies die teenoorgestelde, met boere en landbou-organisasies wat met allerlei projekte uitreik en bereid is om te help waar hulle kan.
Ek sê dit is maklike politiek – ek maak klaar – om mense met veralgemenings en onwaar stellings teen mekaar op te sweep. Moeilike politiek is om volwasse te wees, en om na oplossings te soek oor die landbou heen – oplossings wat vir ons almal wen-wen is, almal se lewenstandaard verbeter, en wat maak dat ons in harmonie kan saamleef.
Daarmee sal ek my besig hou vorentoe, ongeag die kritiek wat ek kry. Ek dank u. [Tyd verstreke.] [Applous.]
END OF TAKE
Mrs M E PILUSA-MOSOANE
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES
Mrs M E PILUSA-MOSOANE: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Ministers, hon members and the House at large, I am going to focus on the impact of food prices, smallholder farmers and horticulture on food security in South Africa. Food security refers to the availability of food and one's access to it. A household is considered food-secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation.
According to global statistics on food security, close to 852 million people are chronically hungry owing to extreme poverty, while up to 2 million people lack food security intermittently owing to varying degrees of poverty. This is according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, 2003. Six million children die of hunger every year and 17 000 every day. These are scary statistics which alert all of us to the seriousness of the problem.
Recent price volatility on international markets is putting pressure on global food security. The increases in food prices have been triggered by a number of factors, such as inflation and the increase in oil prices. It should be noted that the root cause of the recent food security crisis goes back almost 30 years, when investment in agriculture started declining because of the growing perception that agriculture was unprofitable. Government investment in agriculture in developing countries also fell by one third in Africa and by as much as two thirds in Asia and Latin America during this period.
In many developing countries, particularly low-income countries, a policy vacuum accompanied the decrease in investment. Governments dismantled older, costly instruments that had supported agriculture, but did not replace them with new, more effective ones. In the absence of spending and supportive policies, the growth rate of agricultural productivity began to drop from 3,5% in the 1980s to about 1,5% today. Global food stocks have also diminished by almost 3,4% a year since 1995.
Climate change is expected to reduce the availability of arable land and water, and more agricultural land is being devoted to biofuels rather than to food crops. Most of the world's smallholder farmers are struggling to live and feed their families on less than $2 a day. Many have not been able to respond to increased demand, because they lack access to assets and capital and they face higher transaction costs, which are making it difficult for them to adapt and respond quickly to market developments.
Smallholder farmers do not compete on equitable terms in local, regional or global markets. They often lack access to markets because roads are poor or the fact that transportation is too expensive. Higher food prices do not always filter down to the farm gate where poor farmers often have to sell their produce. As a result, the increased demand is being met by large commercial farmers in the developed and food-exporting countries. From 2007 to 2008, cereal production in developed countries increased by 11%. Production in developing countries rose to 0,9% in the same period. And if you exclude Brazil, India and mainland China, production in developing countries actually fell by 1,6%.
Given the above scenario, it is clear that supporting smallholder farmers would not only enhance world food security, but would make a significant dent in poverty. Leaving them out of the equation will push many into greater poverty and hunger. When people cannot make a living on the land, they are often forced to leave it. This economic migration has implications for social tension, urban poverty and conflict.
Smallholder farms are often very efficient in terms of production per hectare, and they have tremendous potential for growth. Experience shows that helping smallholder farmers can contribute to a country's economic growth and food security.
For example, Vietnam has gone from being a food-deficit country to a major food exporter, and it is now the second largest rice exporter in the world. It achieved this largely through the development of its smallholder farming sector. In 2007 the poverty rate fell below 15%, compared with 58% in 1979. About 73% of Vietnam's population lives in rural areas, and agriculture is their main source of income.
Smallholder farmers can contribute to a greater food supply for the world, but, first, they need secure access to land and water, as well as to rural financial services to pay for seed, tools and fertiliser. They also need roads and transport to get their products to the market, and the technology to receive and share the latest market information on prices. They need stronger organisations so that they can have greater bargaining power in the marketplace and can influence national, regional and global policies related to agriculture.
Above all, smallholder farmers need a long-term commitment to agriculture from their own governments and the international community, backed by greater investment.
In the area of horticulture, it is clear that there is a need for substantive investments to be made in irrigation, biotechnology, plant breeding, post-harvest technologies, pest and disease management, and food safety to sustain the projected growth indices.
At the Maputo Declaration, the New Partnership for Africa's Development, Nepad, recommended that African governments should allocate 10% of their budget to stimulating agricultural development. Only a few African countries have achieved this: Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana, Rwanda, Madagascar, Mali and Senegal. The majority of the countries invest less than 1% of their budget in agriculture and even a smaller fraction in research and development. This must change if food security is to be addressed.
In terms of revisiting and implementing the resolutions of the Maputo Declaration, Maputo Declaration of 12 July 2003 provided strong political support for the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, the CAADP, and its evolving plan of action. The heads of state and government resolved, inter alia, to revitalise the agricultural sector, including livestock, forestry and fisheries through special policies and strategies targeted at small scale and traditional farmers in rural areas and the creation of enabling conditions for private-sector participation, with the emphasis on human capacity development and the removal of constraints to agricultural production and marketing, including loss of soil fertility, poor water management, inadequate infrastructure, pests and disease.
They resolved to implement, as a matter of urgency, the CAADP and evolving action plans for agricultural development at national, regional and continental levels. To this end, the heads of state and government agreed to adopt sound policies for agricultural and rural development and committed themselves to allocating at least 10% of national budgetary resources to the implementation thereof within five years.
Further, they resolved to call upon the African Union Commission, the steering committee of Nepad, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and other partners to continue their co-operation, providing effective support to African countries and the regional economic communities in the implementation of the CAADP.
They also resolved to ensure, through collaborative efforts at national and regional levels, the preparation of bankable projects under the CAADP for the mobilisation of resources for investment in agricultural growth and rural development. The heads of state and government also resolved to ensure the establishment of regional food reserve systems, including food stocks linked to Africa's own production.
Hon Chairperson, thank you. We support this budget, even though it is not enough. Thank you. [Applause.]
END OF TAKE
Mr R B BHOOLA
Mrs E M PILUSA-MOSOANE
Mr R B BHOOLA: Hon House Chairperson, there was a time when our agricultural production was something that South Africa could be proud of. There is a wonderful phrase: "When a farmer cries, a country cries."
When you examine the contribution of agricultural output to the provincial and national GDPs, the picture of agriculture is very pathetic. Now I am saying this not because of the current debate, but because very serious note should be taken of the number of farmers that have been forced to leave their farms and not because of land distribution. Here I want to refer to the minority Indian community. Indian indentured labourers came here and saved the former Natal colony from certain bankruptcy. They have played an important role in agriculture in KwaZulu-Natal, but a large number of Indian farmers have now fled their farms.
The premier in KwaZulu-Natal initiated the building of the Dube Trade Port to export fruit and vegetables, especially to Europe, but is there proportional agricultural development? For example, you could take the litchi fruit: Enough litchis could be grown along the Ndwedwe-Verulam belt in our country to supply the whole of Europe. The MF advises the Minister to visit the farms to see the conditions as they are a threat to farmers.
There is another issue that I want to raise, and it is that for the past 40 years there has been concern that members of the younger generation are not clinging to farming. In the early forties, the Afrikaner made sure that they sent their youngsters to town to study, but that they had to go back to the farms. The MF suggests, in accordance with what the national Minister of tertiary education has stated, that we must encourage youngsters to do degrees in agriculture.
The fishing industry is undoubtedly a very important industry. Here I want to suggest that we encourage subsistence fishermen - not place obstacles in their paths – and make sure that more blacks take up subsistence fishing. I want to make a distinction between recreational fishing and subsistence fishing. We have to expand the fishing industry. South Africa has a very rich coastline for fishing.
The MF makes the plea to the Minister to make sure that we encourage the small farmer and co-operatives, and that further assistance is provided to ensure that they can market their produce. A small farmer, collectively, makes an important contribution. The small Punjab province in India grows the food for the whole of India. One small village in the state of Bihar grows litchis for the 1,3 billion people that make up the Indian population.
Now, the disturbing fact is that ninety percent of the land which was redistributed in terms of the redistribution programme lies fallow. The government must take some bold decisions. You can't have shortages and inactivity, and people who are recipients of land restitution not operating these farms.
The MF is very concerned about the state of agriculture in our country, and especially its contribution to the GDP. India and China have growth rates of 9% as a result of their flourishing agriculture industries. The MF will support the Budget Vote.
Mrs M N TWALA
Mr R B BHOOLA
Mrs N M TWALA: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon Members of Parliament, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen and fellow South Africans, even though South African commercial forestry is now fully in private hands with the winding down of SA Forestry Company (Ltd), Safcol, the sector remains an important contributor to gross domestic product and job creation across the country.
As a disciplined force of the left, the ANC seeks to build a national democratic society in which equality evinces itself in a nonracial, nonsexist and uniformly prosperous tapestry. The ANC has a duty to foster economic growth whilst protecting the vulnerable from the vagaries, whims and temperaments of firms and markets. The ANC seeks to ensure that business takes place in an environmentally sustainable manner in order to ensure that prosperity is neither robbed of nonreplenishable natural resources nor burdened with environmental debt.
The primary responsibility of forestry firms as corporate citizens lies with their communities in which they plant, harvest and process their raw material. The firms have a duty to the country, not only in faithfully doing their taxes but also in alleviating the economic burden on the state and supporting the infrastructure development projects of the state.
In this regard, it is important that firms do not only exist to reap profits from selling logs and processing wood for pulp, paper, furniture and building material. The prices of forestry goods are mostly driven by the ever-rising export demands, thus making these goods too expensive for local consumption. These prices have mainly affected the rate of government's projects of building RDP houses as roofing material expenses always far outstrip any other building expense.
It is the irony of our country that those people who are at the coalface of producing consumer goods are the ones who are most unlikely to enjoy their use and benefit from the value added to them. This phenomenon manifests itself in the cruel irony of farmworkers who feed the nation yet cannot feed their own households. The same is true for forestry workers who work under difficult conditions sawing logs, loading them onto trucks and processing them into pulp, paper and furniture, yet most of them do not own decent houses or furniture. It is not being suggested that workers should be paid through what they produce, but that they should share in the world which they create.
The winding down of Safcol at a time when the demand for building material and furniture was at its zenith is difficult to fathom, as Safcol did not only have a positive balance sheet but was raking in good profits for the government. It would have made better sense for our government, in fact, to expand Safcol than wind it down for closure.
The argument that Safcol made up less than 2% of South Africa's forestry industry fails in view of the fact that when Cabinet decided in 1997 that the state should exit plantation forestry, Safcol had 40% of industrial forests. Even when Safcol was finally wound down, Komatiland Forest had 10% of industrial forests in South Africa, produced 31% of the yield of softwood saw logs in South Africa, contributed 2,5% to the total industry and employed 3,5% of the total human resource of the sector.
The winding down of Safcol has led South Africa into a situation in which the whole forestry industry is in private hands, and with the private sector's main motive for engaging in business being to amass profits, the ever-rising prices of goods in this industry come as no surprise.
In areas in which Safcol had control there remain communities residing in forests, people who used to depend on government for their basic services. In some of these communities, the firms which took over from Safcol are not continuing the legacy of providing these basic services to the people. Instead of creating employment opportunities for community members and securing their welfare, these firms have, in fact, retrenched workers and outsourced some of the key job-creating functions to subcontractors.
The contractors in pursuit of profits have casualised forestry labour and exploited it without affording their workers rights, ensure that their workers receive due benefits or given their workers medical aid benefits in order to have easy access to medical help in the event of occupational injuries, given the precarious conditions of the workers' jobs. At this stage it might be too late for government to increase its footprint in the forestry industry as the proverbial horse has already bolted out of the stable door.
However, government has a duty to protect the forest dwellers and workers from extreme poverty and hunger and ensure that the ANC manifesto promise to create jobs and fight poverty becomes a reality even in this sector.
As a result of the land reform process, the transfer of forestry assets and pending afforestation targets to be reached, as specified in the forestry sector transformation charter and which will take place mainly in communal areas, a significant proportion of forested land will be on community land. This situation provides an excellent opportunity for black economic empowerment.
However, there are challenges that need to be addressed in order to continue with sustainable and productive forestry activity. These challenges include skills, capacity, training and extension support and funding. The forestry sector charter identifies the dire shortage of critical scarce and core skills, as well as shortcomings in skills development infrastructure as key constraints to transformational growth. The Minister has just told this House that there are concerted and co-ordinated sector initiatives that will be undertaken to address this challenge.
Tenure security is another major requirement for forestry investment and development. The challenge lies in defining the rights, roles and responsibilities associated with forest use, which are crucial for the poor to receive an equitable share of the benefits from forestry.
At present, great uncertainty exists over the long-term ownership of forest land. It is estimated that 60% of Komatiland forest, 48% of Mondi and 17,5% of Sappi are subject to land claims. The department has adopted a model that will settle the land claims on privately owned plantation areas to remove the uncertainty about the eventual devolution of the benefits accruing to the claims.
The Reconstruction and Development Programme has as its central concept the achievement of sustainable development. It recognises the need to develop an open, internally competitive industrial sector to generate wealth and employment. Within the rural development strategy the forestry sector is identified as an important element in the contribution to better living conditions and economic opportunity.
As a rural-based activity, forestry contributes to rural development and provides employment and economic opportunities to many South Africans. According to the strategic plan, this sector employs 170 000 people and contributes more than R12 billion to the South African economy annually.
The limited supply of timber remains a challenge for the country. It is expected that the demand for timber will increase in future and this occasions the need, according to the department, for increasing the forest base by planting more trees. Furthermore, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is promoting the afforestation programme to establish new plantations for growth and development purposes.
Most industrial plantations are located where climatic conditions are suitable for afforestation: 41% in Mpumalanga; 37% in KwaZulu-Natal; 11% in the Eastern Cape; 6% in the Western Cape; and 5% in the Northern Cape. However, the high levels of biological diversity in South Africa mean that the conversion of natural land to new uses always involves an environmental impact. Afforestation is no exception.
Plantation forests bring about new employment opportunities and other social benefits. However, because forestry has tended to be an exclusive land use, there are real and perceived social costs involved. In that regard, the economic benefits of industrial forestry need to be balanced against the cost of water resources and the environmental and social impact.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Prof L B G Ndabandaba): Hon member, wrap up please.
Mrs N M TWALA: The ANC is committed to increasing the forestry base whilst being sensitive to the environmental imperatives that affect this action. Our approach to forestry is underpinned by the primacy of South Africa's growth and development needs, and thus more will be done to broaden ownership and protect the interests of workers whilst lowering the cost of doing business in the sector.
The ANC will protect the environment and the forests through reducing the number of veld fires and bringing offenders to book. The challenges to the sector require partnerships with businesses and communities to ensure sustainable growth and development whilst creating decent employment and sustainable livelihoods. The ANC supports this Budget Vote. I thank you. [Applause.]
VM/DUT/END OF TAKE
Mr N D DU TOIT
Mrs M N TWALA
Mnr N D DU TOIT: Agb Voorsitter, dit is skokkend om te sien hoe geld deur die staatsinstansies vermors word. Ons kan vir ure redeneer oor hoeveel geld beskikbaar is vir elke departement en vir elke funksie wat vervul moet word, maar wat help dit alles wanneer dit in die hande van disfunksionele departemente beland wat, op 'n paar uitsonderings na, 'n epidemie van klaaglike mislukkings is?
Wat die Vissery afdeling aan betref, moet 'n mens werklik simpatie met die Minister betuig. Hiér erf sy 'n blik wurms wat niks met aas te doen het nie, en streepsakke vol onwettige perlemoen wat maar die punt van die ysberg is. Terwyl bona fide bestaansvissers ontneem is van hul permitte om perlemoen uit te haal, moet hulle in sommige gevalle nou al vir jare van die wal af staan en toekyk hoe georganiseerde stropers met bote, duikpakke en al die nodige toerusting die bron sistematies uitwis.
Permitaansoeke het oor die R6 000 gekos. Vele arm mense moes hierdie geld leen, en die geld is verbeur toe die aansoeke nie toegestaan is nie. 'n Mens kan gerus daarmee 'n plan maak.
Terwyl ek dikwels oproepe van die publiek ontvang oor die lakse houding van die wetstoepassers, is nóg die polisie, nóg die departement in staat om enige bote in die water te sit en te beman sodat stropery stopgesit kan word. Daar is slegs vier bote en daar is nie geld vir operasionele aksie nie.
Verder is die beweerde wanbestuur binne Marine and Coastal Management, die MCM, klaarblyklik onder die mat gevee, en tydens die sitting waarby die portefeuljekomitee die geleentheid sou gehad het om die saak na die oppervlak te bring, is bespreking van hierdie aspek nie toegelaat nie.
Indien portefeuljekomitees volhou met hierdie houding, is dit geen wonder dat departementele wanbestuur aan die orde van die dag is nie.
Net een voorbeeld hiervan is die ineenstorting van die eerste perlemoenboerdery in Oos-London. Hier is R20 miljoen van die publiek se geld na sy maai. Gaan lees die Oos-Kaap se Daily Dispatch.
Wat die Bosbou afdeling aan betref is die grootste enkele bedreiging brande, wat jare se kapitaal in 'n oogwink kan vernietig. Die begroting vir brandbestryding is totaal ontoereikend. Brande kan net in afgeleë gebiede soos berghange effektief bestry word met die hulp van helikopters en vliegtuie, en dit is 'n baie duur transaksie.
Concerning the agriculture division, government must have a clear policy framework based on the free-market system to regulate and enhance investment in the sector.
Skandalige prysverhogings, soos Eskom se 25%, verryk, onder andere, die ANC maatskappy Hitachi Power Africa. Aangesien die Minister van landbouers en Suid-Afrikaanse besighede verwag om brood teen kosprys te verskaf, verneem ek graag of die ANC – wat in die kragverskaffingsbesigheid is – nou te kenne wil gee dat boere, besighede en huishoudings krag ook teen kosprys kan kry.
Hierdie buitensporige prysverhogings sal voedselproduksie onmoontlik maak.
The impact of climate change and drought on production and food security should be recognised.
The availability of water of good quality is becoming more important for maintaining production. South Africa is often affected by severe droughts. The government will have to focus on strategies to mitigate the adverse impact of natural disasters. Proper management of natural disasters is critical for the long-term sustainability of the sector. The promulgation of a disaster risk-management strategy is urgently required.
Ongetwyfeld egter, is dat die grootste knelpunte die voortgesette versekering van voedselverskaffing aan die nasie, en die grondhervormingsproses, is.
Word die status quo min of meer behou en sinvolle grondhervorming vind plaas, is die land net-net verseker van voedselsekuriteit, hoofsaaklik as gevolg van die bekwaamhede en toewyding van kommersiële boere, wit en swart.
Boerdery is uiters riskant, met 'n netto opbrengs van so laag as plus-minus 2% tot 5% gemiddeld op kapitaal aangewend. Enige grondhervorming wat gepaard gaan met 'n verswakking in hierdie toestand – met ander woorde, voorgesette kosteverhoging, swak pryse en enige daling in produktiwiteit – sal landbou in Suid-Afrika onlonend maak, die bedryf gaandeweg uitwis en voedselinvoere noodsaak. Dit sal die land se buitelandse handelsbalans ernstig sal benadeel.
In die lig hiervan gaan dit die verstand te bowe hoe die regerende party dink dat, deur die grote van plase te beperk en dus landbouers in effek te verbied om buurplase te koop, winsgewindheid sal verhoog en nie sal daal nie.
Laat ek vandag aan die Huis 'n elementêre werklikheid voorhou, wat geensins gesien moet word as 'n refleksie op die insig van agb lede van hierdie Huis wat weet wat in die landbousektor aangaan nie: Al kry iemand 'n stuk grond verniet, maak die koste van ontwikkeling en jaarlikse produksie die landbousektor nog steeds een van die grootste besigheidsuitdagings. Moenie dink kitsopleiding of 'n graad in landbou gaan boerdery 'n suksesverhaal maak nie. Die mielie mag dalk groei en selfs geoes word, maar dis nie te sê jy gaan geld hê om volgende jaar te herhaal nie. Hier agter my sit baie mense wat dit kan beaam.
Menige boere het al agter gekom dat sukses afhang van hoe diep jou sakke is om vir jou foute te betaal sonder om onder te gaan. Die belastingbetalers kan nie bekostig om te betaal vir eksperimente in grondhervorming en ou boerdery modelle wat reeds nie geslaag het nie.
Dit is al gesê, maar ek herhaal dit maar weer: Dit is algemene kennis dat 90% van die grondhervormingsprojekte gefaal het, teen enorme koste vir die staat en die samelewing.
The government, or the ruling party for that matter, should stop creating the idea that millions of people in shacks are now going to be transformed into peasant farmers and that these people will be able to fend for themselves and have cash to spare. Are these subsistence plots of land going to be measured in square metres, acres or hectares?
Hou op om politieke speletjies te speel en dreigemente te maak aan die landbougemeenskap om in hul spoor te trap, of anders. Sê reguit hoeveel mense in die stedelike sentra nou 'n stukkie grond gaan kry: Eenhonderd-duisend? Vyfhonderd-duisend? 'n Miljoen? Vyf miljoen? Hoe groot moet die stukkie grond wees? Vyfhonderd vierkante meter? Een akker? Een hektaar? Tien hektaar?
Waar gaan hierdie hervestiging en transformasie plaasvind? Aangrensend aan stede en dorpe of daar doer in die boendoes? Of, is dit die plan om plaasgrond op te sny en te verdeel tussen eienaar en werkers? Sover het die regerende party nog geen realistiese model of plan aangebied wat nugterdenkende mense, ekonome en landboukenners kan ontleed en beoordeel nie. Dit is lugkastele wat nie die werklikheid van 'n mark- en kapitaalgedrewe wêreld in ag neem nie.
Met al die mislukkings van die verlede is dit moeilik om te sien hoe 'n staatsdepartement soos Landbou, Bosbou en Vissery enige van hierdie drome werklikheid gaan maak en dit boonop nog administreer en beheer.
Mao het in ongeveer 1956 The Great Leap Forward gepropageer en ingestel onder sy leiding. Na drie jaar het miljoene mense by die graanopslagplekke van hongerte gesterf, en die uiteinde was "a great leap backwards", soos dit nou bekend staan.
Mao se gesig was nog steeds op plakate en vlae te sien, maar sy politieke loopbaan was oor en hy is vervang.
Daar is genoem dat u oor die koringprys moet gesels. Ek moet vir u aandui dat ons 'n gesegde hier in die Wes-Kaap het, wat lui: As dit nie Paasnaweek reën nie, reën dit die naweek daarna. Ek sê vir u: Die reën het begin val; die mense wil ploeg en plant. As daardie koring nie teen die 15de in is nie, is daar te min warm dae vir behoorlike ontkieming en goeie oeste. Dan gaan u nie goedkoop of duur brood kry nie; u gaan geen brood kry nie. Baie dankie. [Applous.]
//nvs (Eng & Afr)
END OF TAKE
Mr S ABRAM
Mnr N D DU TOIT
Mr S ABRAM: Hon Chairperson, by working together we can do more.
Ek wil graag verwys na die toespraak van agb Bosman, wie, onder meer, gepraat het oor nasionalisering.
Ek dink ons moet duidelik verstaan dat nasionalisering op hierdie stadium nie die beleid van die regering is nie. Ons is onderworpe aan Artikel 25 van die Grondwet.
Die agb lid het ook gepraat oor landelike veiligheid. Ek stem volkome saam. Almal in die landelike gebiede moet kan veilig voel. Dit is nie net landelike veiligheid nie, maar wel die agteruitgang van landelike infrastruktuur, wat kwel. Dit maak die prys van landbouprodukte hoër, want die bakkies en trokke wat die produkte moet vervoer breek aanhoudend vanwee baie swak infrastruktuur. Ek wil graag 'n beroep doen op die Minister dat iets ernstigs daaraan moet gedoen word.
Ek wil agb Carter verseker dat dit nie 'n parlementêre komitee was wat Zimbabwe toe gegaan het nie; dit was 'n vrywillige organisasie. Die dag dat die regering enige vrywillige organisasie belet om 'n ander land te besoek, gaan 'n kwade dag wees. Ons kan dit nie toelaat nie.
Die ander agb lede ... ek sien nie my goeie vriend, die agb Groenewald nie ...
'N ONBEKENDE LID: Soos gewoonlik.
Mnr S ABRAM: ... maar ek hoop dat die agb Adjunkminister, aangesien hy sy partylid is, dit net aan hom sal oordra.
'N ONBEKENDE LID: Hy het weggehardloop!
Mnr S ABRAM: Nee, hy's op die oomblik nie hier nie om een of ander rede. Ons wil net graag vir die agb lid sê dat hy praat van uitsprake van 'n sekere persoon wat leier is van 'n ander organisasie. Die President van die land het oor die afgelope paar dae al reeds daaroor gepraat en sy siening daaroor gelig. Laat ons aanvaar dat die President korrek opgetree het. [Applous.]
'N ONBEKENDE LID: Hoor hoor!
Mnr S ABRAM: Oor die kwessie van die reën wat moontlik tot 'n donderweer kan ontaard, wil ek net vir die agb Groenewald sê dat enige ding soos 'n donderweer moet wees. Hy moet dig wees, anders reën hy mos nie. So, om 'n reëntjie te kry, moet jy eers die donderweer sien.
The hon member Bhoola spoke with passion about something that we in the ANC believe in. We believe that we need to support the subsistence fishermen who make a living out of fishing and also put food on their families' tables. We should go all out to do that.
Vriende, ek will graag gebruik maak van die teenwoordigheid van die Adjunkminister van Handel en Nywerheid.
The hon Deputy Minister was a very vocal and dedicated member of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture. Now, I have just two requests of her. The one is to help us to revive the cotton industry so that we can say that the shirts that we wear are proudly made in South Africa from South African cotton. [Applause.]
The second thing I want to ask her concerns her department's involvement, in some form or the other, in agricultural development. A mere one-and-a-quarter hour's drive from Queenstown in the former Transkei is the Qamata Irrigation Scheme. It has gone to wreck and ruin. Wouldn't her department want to do some agricultural industrial development there so that it can become the breadbasket of that rural area of the former Transkei? I put this to her and I know that, being a passionate person, the hon Deputy Minister will make work out of it.
I am going to make my speech from the back forwards.
We have a problem with regard to the provisions of the White Paper, the 1998 White Paper ...
THE TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Prof L B G Ndabandaba): Hon member, please be mindful of your time.
Mr S ABRAM: Let me rather shoot now. The White Paper on Agriculture provided for the removal of agricultural support systems, and the sector has since been operating within the confines of market forces, resulting in the Land Bank being subjected to competition from commercial banks in attracting investment funds. It is unable to provide a safety net to emerging and small scale farmers.
The government must therefore review its agricultural development strategy and emulate countries like Brazil, India, China and Kenya that have developed successful safety nets for their agricultural sectors. A number of countries have been able to create mechanisms to cushion their agricultural sectors, but we are not providing safety nets.
The Agricultural Credit Act and the Agricultural Marketing Act – repealed in the 1990s – were support systems which assisted the Land Bank in providing long-term loans at way below market rates. The insignificant number of successful new farmers is indicative of the lack of such support structures.
To overcome this problem, government has to collaborate with role-players, including the Land Bank, to develop a value-chain financing model which provides safety nets for new farmers. I have taken note of what the Minister has said about this.
More importantly, government needs to formulate a comprehensive rural development strategy, where agriculture takes centre stage and the roles of all government agencies are clearly articulated. Any economic and industrial development plan must include agriculture if it is to make a meaningful impact.
During 2008, the Land Bank ended up in the intensive care unit. It is now, apparently, in the open environment. It will have to grow its commercial business in order to survive.
The developmental mandate can only be carried out successfully with governmental intervention. The commercial and developmental portfolios must be split. The developmental book must be ring-fenced with government-provided guarantees and cash injections intended to finance new farmers with long-term loans at very low costs. This will also improve their credit profile. Just like that of the old Agricultural Credit Board, the aim must be to provide finance solutions that address the Land Bank's exposure to high risks, while simultaneously improving the new borrowers' equity positions by lowering debt equity ratios to more manageable levels.
Having had no insight into the Land Bank's latest financial statements, peripheral indications are that the Bank seems to be on track, and I hope that they don't let us down.
However, the disbursal of R85 million AgriBEE funds, done under the watch of a former acting CEO to what, I will term, dubious and ghost beneficiaries, still remains unresolved and a spot of bother. Finality is needed and those responsible for any wrongdoing brought to book.
Nationally and internationally the need for increased investment in research is recognised. Many countries see the need for measures to address agricultural research, particularly so because food security is vital and future stability non-negotiable.
After intensive consultation over a six to eight-year period, a National Agricultural Research and Development Strategy was developed and signed off by the Minister of Agriculture in 2008. That strategy, the result of the involvement of all role-players, should be implemented without delay.
Amongst other things the document highlights a critical need to increase the funding of agricultural research and identifies a two-pronged approach: firstly, that the parliamentary grant to the Agricultural Research Council be substantially increased and strengthened to ensure its fulfilment of its key mandates of research and maintenance of national assets and services; secondly, that a national agricultural research and technology fund be created in order to leverage funds. I will leave it at that.
The other question concerns the Rift Valley fever outbreak which has caused the deaths – our condolences go out to those human beings, fellow South Africans, who lost their lives – and the hospitalisation of many. This is proof that we are ill-prepared to respond to emergencies. We need to address this vigorously.
The facilities and equipment at the world-renowned Onderstepoort Biological Products facility, which should be considered a natural key point, are almost 50 years old. Needless to say, it needs upgrading and a huge injection of capital. I will not be able to expand further in my remaining time.
There is also a general shortage of veterinarians in our country, including in the private sector. Unfortunately, the government's remuneration package is not competitive enough to make being a veterinarian a worthwhile profession for people.
Unfortunately, my time is coming to an end, but I have prepared something I need to address to the officials, the bureaucrats, in our community but which is also applicable to all of us. You cannot operate a department, an entity or a business if you lack commitment to the highest standards of integrity. There should be integrity in your delivery of promises, tangible or intangible; integrity in your research results; integrity in your proclamation of the qualities and powers of products, medicinal, nutritional or durable. Integrity must prevail throughout your organisations. Integrity must be evident in everything you say and do and in your conduct.
My challenge to all of you is this: You need to demonstrate that your practices and leadership are of the highest standards of integrity. You are not only entrusted with the leadership and oversight of a department, an entity or a business, but also with the stewardship of leading the struggle for the emancipation of our people from the shackles and bondage of poverty, need and want. We look to you to expose, through your own leadership and your own performance, the personal integrity and dedication to your duties that our beloved land and all our people living on it are entitled to and expect from you. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
nvs (Eng & Afr)
END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF FORESTRY, AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES
Mr S ABRAM
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Prof L B G Ndabandaba): I now call the hon Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. You have only five minutes.
The MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES: Chairperson, thank you very much for giving me the 45 minutes that I used earlier. I would like to acknowledge our women farmers, our fisher folk, our farmworkers, organised agriculture, the President of Agriculture SA, the leadership of the National African Farmers Union of SA leadership, the leadership of the National Treasury Technical Assistance Unit. I thank them for sitting throughout the entire budget speech.
I would also like to thank the Ministers and the Deputy Ministers, in particular our Deputy Minister of Finance and Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry. I thank my sister who came to hold my hand as I was scared to come here today. I asked her to come and hold my hand. I thank you very much for sitting throughout the entire debate. I would also like to thank the MEC of Limpopo. I do not know if she has left already. Could you please tell her that I have thanked her? I would also like to thank Mr van Rensburg for sitting through this entire debate.
Hon members, I will not be able to do justice by responding to 14 people in four minutes. There is no way in which I can respond to 14 people within four minutes. I am, therefore, requesting that you send me all your inputs and copies of your speeches. Please send them to me for my personal attention. I shall treat all your inputs as parliamentary questions and respond to them as questions for written response. You will receive a written response to your questions. [Applause.]
I would also like to urge you to attend the farmworkers' summits as they happen in your provinces. Radical information is coming out in these farmworker summits. Farmworkers now have a platform to voice their grievances. I want to say to the women: you now have a platform from which to voice your grievances without fear of dismissal or violence. I want to ensure hon members that all agricultural colleges will be reopened. [Applause.]
I would also like to thank our sponsors. None of them has an interest in our sectors and, thus, we have no conflicts of interest. In fact, we were warned that there was a sneaky one, thanks to our vigilance. We have secret agents who assist us and give us information. We then, through the vigilance, refuse the kind donation.
The area which we have highlighted and continue to highlight is the safety of farmers and farmworkers. This is neither symbolic nor a matter of race. Black farmers are also killed, and it is not our intention to deal with this as a race matter. I must tell you that I was evicted from the graveyard so I could not go right up to the coffin of Mr Terre'Blanche. I wanted to see the coffin go down the grave, as is ritual, but I was told I could not go there.
I reiterate for the sake of food security that bread must be sold at cost price. Our interactions with certain companies have been that they can do it. So I am convinced that they can do it. It is not good to take away bread. I am also not living in Cloud-cuckoo-land.
Ek wil die Visserygemeenskap bedank vir hulle lankmoedigheid. Daar is so 'n word. Dis suiwer Afrikaans. Ek wil weereens vir hulle verseker dat die totale funksie van Visserye na Landbou sal kom en dat ons, soos die agb lid, Du Toit, gesê het, inderdaad sal moet kyk na bestaansvisserye. Ons kan nie mense laat kripeer van die hongerte, as hulle tradisionele kennis het nie.
I am going to conclude by asking you to please get a copy of the media statement, because the media statement gives a little bit more information that is not in the budget speech. It was impossible to go into a lot of detail in the budget speech of 20 minutes. So, if I have not mentioned your name, if I have not mentioned your sector or your industry, I ask you to please forgive me and to understand that there is only so much I can say within 20 minutes.
My time is up. I invite you to dinner at Pigalle's – and it is not at the expense of taxpayers. I will declare who has sponsored the event. You are most welcome. Please do not stay away because then it will have been fruitless expenditure for my sponsors. I thank you. [Applause.]
The Committee rose at 16:27.
/Mosa [Eng] / src [Afr]//NB/
END OF TAKE
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