- Hon.MEC, you are the RASET champion and this programme would be highly successful if it was an inclusive programme for all blacks: that is, African, Indian and Coloured, as per the department’s vision.
- On reviewing the programme plan, it is in a broad format with missing details and agriculture as a discipline requires intense details.
- The Minority Front would like to see a separate value-chain for each type of farming e.g.: sheep, peas or pears from breed and seed to markets.
- This is the only way that emerging farmers can be hand held and mentored by seeing success on paper and the strategists can do this.
- The MF’s concern is the lack of agricultural financing to farmers which has seen the collapse of Litchi farming e.g.: in Verulam and entrepreneurs who do not come through our colleges e.g.: an Aquafarmer who cannot access funds currently yet the Hon. President has announced in SONA that such funds are available. Is there a financial advisory desk in the department with staff who can assess such applications and assist entrepreneurs. Hon.MEC, we must close the gaps for seamless integration and results based management.
- Hon. MEC, there has been reports that in the last few years of some politically connected individuals have been funded R200 million at a time for Macadamian nut farms on the South Coast or Aqua culture farms that have not flourished and there was no return on investment in agriculture or rural development for the previously disadvantaged because the monies were not utilised for the actual purpose. Please check on these subsidies.
- It is imperative that extension officers be budgeted for in farmer development services to mentor anyone qualifying for a loan. The number and distribution of these extension officers must be reported on, Hon.Members.
- It is the MF’s firm belief that farming is a calling, hence applicants must be selected who really love, toil and know the “soil”.
- Rural women and youth have great potential to unlock the full potential of agricultural land but are feeling the heat of climate change.
- Hence, in RASETS schematic model, I don’t see how the ramifications of food security will be accommodated in weak areas, e.g. crop improvement, international policy, donor funding and local politics. As politicians our comfort zone is politics and policy aspects of food security but the technical constraints to food security requires technical skills and RASET is weak on this. The M & E department admits to the inadequacy of reliable, current, accurate data within this sector but I urge officials to look at a few KZN studies done recently on this sector for reliable data.
- Finally, small scale farmers should be the focus and I applaud you, Hon. MEC for your efforts but call an annual imbizo of all farmers to identify farmers who will mentor youth graduates into farmers constantly through well- designed mentorship programmes, subsidized by the department. This will give emerging farmers the technical workplace skills and I know farmers who are already doing this and its working well.
- The Minority Front supports this budgets of approximately R 2,5 billion budget, including conditioned grants.
- Thank you.
Debated by: Hon. Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi
Minority Front Leader (KZN Legislature)
Date: Tue 30 Jul 2019
Time: 09:00 to 18:55
Word Count: 535 Words