26 May 2017
AFASA applauds DAFF’s R220 million commitment to commercialisation programme
The African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (AFASA) applauds government consistent messages of fast tracking transformation in the agricultural sector and its value chains. In his budget vote speech during the week, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister, Mr Senzeni Zokwana reiterated what President Jacob Zuma announced in his State of the Nation Address of 2017 regarding supporting the commercialisation of smallholder farmers in a systemised manner.
“Government has committed itself to support black smallholder farmers. I received a memorandum from the African Farmers Association of South Africa who says that the year 2017 must be the year of the commercialisation of the black smallholder farmers. Indeed, government will implement a commercialisation support programme for 450 black smallholder farmers. Today we are starting a new chapter of radical socio-economic transformation. We are saying that we should move beyond words, to practical programmes,” President Jacob Zuma said during SONA 2017.
In its petition during the march to the Union Buildings last year, AFASA proposed that government fully develop and support 50 Black commercial farmers per province per year for the next 10 years, until each one is commercially viable and sustainable. “Unlike in the past, where farmer support was rolled out in a random uncoordinated manner, the department, following AFASA’s proposal, will use a specific system to support and commercialise black farmers. We are happy that the department announced they have committed R220 million to support 450 farmers with a target of 2 250 farmers by 2022,” said Mr Mahanjana.
AFASA also welcomes the implementation and rollout of the Revitalisation of the Agriculture and Agro Processing Value Chain (RAAVC) to drive economic growth and job creation. The Minister announced that key focus areas of RAAVC for 2017/18 will include, Land Reform, Market Access and Trade, Producer Support, Research and Innovation, and Production. He said RAAVC will further focus on providing support to strategic industries including the Fruit & Vegetable industries, Poultry, Red Meat, Grains and Aquaculture industries.
For the Fruit and Vegetable industries government plan on investing a total of R 465 million; for the Poultry industry, R 128 million; the Red Meat industry, R 243 million; and R336 million in the Grain industry. “We have always maintained that the true transformation of the agricultural sector will only be achieved when black farmers equally participate and own parts of the agricultural value chains. We hope that through the implementation of RAAVC, black farmers will finally have the opportunity to own and participate in the mainstream agricultural economy,” said Mr Mahanjana.
AFASA welcomes the Minister’s budget for the financial year 2017/18 of R6.8 billion, of which R2.2 billion was allocated as conditional grants, R1.6 billion to CASP and R522 million for Ilima/Letsema. “We welcome all these initiatives and believe these are giant step in the right direction. However, AFASA still maintain that the taste of the pudding is in the eating. How government will go about implementing these programme will determine the successes or failures,” concluded Mr Mahanjana.
Mr Aggrey Mahanjana
African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (AFASA)
Tel: +27 (0)12 492 1383
Cell: +27 (0)82 556 7297