28 April 2016
AFASA calls for collaboration between DRDLR and DAFF
The African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) is calling for the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform Minister, Mr Gugile Nkwinti and Minister Senzeni Zokwana, Minister of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, to ensure that their departments work together to complement each other in delivering on their important mandates as envisioned in the National Development Plan (NDP).
The NDP views agriculture as critical to employment and food security.
Welcoming Minister Nkwinti’s budget vote tabled this week, Mr Aggrey Mahanjana, AFASA Secretary General said the impact will be greater if the two departments align their plans and budgets, especially towards supporting agricultural development. The two departments, according to Mr Mahanjana, have the same objective through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) from DAFF and DRDLR’s Agri-parks, which is also the objective of Agricultural Policy Action Plan (APAP). “We wish to see them working together by streamlining their budgets to achieve one goal, which is to develop and support farmers while creating jobs and ensuring food security to South Africans, especially those in poor rural areas,” said Mr Mahanjana. He said with close to R4 billion from both departments (R2 billion from DRDLR’s Agri-parks and R1.6 billion of CASP) a lot can be achieved. “Their collaboration and working together is now very important following DAFF’s reduced budget tabled last week,” said Mr Mahanjana.
While AFASA supports Government’s stance on the 50/50 policy framework, Mr Mahanjana said the organization still emphasise on guarding against fronting and ensuring that farm workers are properly integrated in the businesses in which they are partners. “We still say farm workers must be trained and proper structures to monitor, evaluate and manage these partnerships be put in place,” said Mr Mahanjana. “We would not like to see what is happening in the fruit industry in the Western Cape spreading across the country where the partnerships only favours farm owners not farm workers,” added Mr Mahanjana.
He said with regards to the allocation of government or communal land under traditional leaders, AFASA calls for a standardised criteria. Mr Mahanjana said during the launch of the ANC Local Election Manifesto, President Jacob Zuma stated that the ANC will work with traditional leaders to ensure that communal land under the trusteeship of traditional leaders is accessible and available for development and economic growth. AFASA knows that some traditional leaders are using land for their own enrichment by selling it to outsiders. AFASA calls on the minister of Rural Development and Land Reform to intervene. “Farmers continue to lose grazing land as some of this land is being sold for self-gain by these leaders instead of community development. AFASA hopes that the Minister will intervene to address the issue of mismanagement of communal land. We’ve been calling for government to intervene in the management of communal land because lawlessness in these areas is rife and undealt with,” explains Mr Mahanjana.
Improving track record
And finally, Mr Mahanjana said although AFASA was generally happy with the department’s financial commitments to rural development and land reform, capacity to implement is a worrying factor. Government’s track record in implementing its programmes is not convincing. “The department has committed a lot of money to different programmes, but this has been followed by disappointing implementation efforts. We are no longer excited with figures which are not backed up by proper actions,” he concluded.
Mr Aggrey Mahanjana
Secretary General/Managing Director
African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (AFASA)
Tel: +27 (0)12 492 1383
Cell: +27 (0)82 556 7297