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Gauteng Agriculture budget allocation for 2012/13

Mail & Guardian Correspondent

Vibrant, equitable and sustainable communities contributing towards food security, protected and enhanced environmental assets and natural resources.

Budget allocation has decreased by 4% from R516 658 000 in 2011/12 to R 493 976 000 for the 2012/13 financial year. (Reuters)

Budget allocation has decreased by 4% from R516 658 000 in 2011/12 to R 493 976 000 for the 2012/13 financial year, due to across the board hair cut to sup-port the Health Department.

We envis-age it to grow to R549 636 000 for the 2013/14 financial year.

This budget is distributed output-by-output and ex-ecuted to achieve our outcomes and ultimately our vision, as follows:Sustainable Agrarian Reform with a Thriving Small and Large Farming Sector (R84 191 000)The Agricultural sector plays an impor-tant role in terms of food security, reduc-tion of hunger and poverty, rural devel-opment, skills development, inclusive economic growth and job creation.

In line with the Freedom Charter’s clause “The State shall help the peasants with seeds, tractors and dams, to save the soil and to assist the tillers”, during 2011/12 we up-scaled our pre- and post-farmer settlement support through the Letsema/Ilima program. 104 small holder farmers and Co-operatives were supported with production inputs such as seeds, fertilisers, herbicides and on farm infrastructure such as fences and gates to secure their farms, watertight containers and drilling of boreholes to ensure access to water for irrigation. For example, the Bogatsu Boerdery is a commercial pig farm of 52 ha.

This farmer bought the farm in the West Rand outright and it is the biggest Black owned piggery in the province. It is a 168 sow unit farm that employs 12 per-manent and six seasonal workers. There are five piggery structures on the farm which are all in full use.

We have many more examples of emerging and small-holder farmers that we supported to become successful commercial farmers.We also provided other forms of sup-port including Extension & Advisory services, Training and Mentoring of vari-ous commodity study groups by large commercial farmers and Agriculture Research Council.

This has resulted in well capacitated farmers who are knowl-edgeable and well informed. We also finally launched the West Rand Agri-cultural Institute to up-scale accredited training in 2012/13. We will train 300 farmers this year. We have requested the Minister of Agriculture to help us refur-bish and upgrade the facility.

We have hosted four Agri-Expos at the Tshwane Spring Show since 2010. We transported almost 900 farmers to participate in these Agri-Expos includ-ing the National Agriculture Maize Producers Organisation in Bothaville, undercover farming expo, and work-shops on access to agricultural funding, agro-industries, livestock handling and crop production practices. Farmers and biotechnology students who receive bursaries expressed their appreciation for gaining useful knowledge & infor-mation.

We are committing R1.6-million to host the Tshwane Spring Show and African Farmers Expo for 2012/13.

13AdvertorialAdvertorialThe Department gained international recognition for the swift management of outbreaks of major epidemic dis-eases, like canid rabies, foot and mouth disease, African Swine Fever which could have resulted in businesses go-ing bankrupt, meat price hikes and the loss of and more than 2000 jobs. On The Green Paper on Land Reform, the DRDLR has released the Green Paper for public comments to address the slow pace of land redistribution.

The Green Paper proposes a four-tier tenure system which includes state, private, foreign-owned and commu-nally owned land. It also proposes the establishment of Land Management Commission, Office of Valuer General and Land Rights Management Board to address weaknesses of the Willing Seller Willing Buyer approach. “in pursuing Gdard’s rural infrastruc-ture role, we have supplied 21 bore-holes, 12 layer structures, 16 broiler structures, 11 piggery structures, 15 fences and 45 hydroponics structures throughout the province.

This year we will build a poultry agro-processing ab-attoir or hatchery, an agro-processing storage facility in Ekangala and a citrus pack house in Winterveldt, vegetable Agri-parks in Tarlton and in Wadeville as well as research and development projects. R48 016 000 CASP funding is ring-fenced for this work.On Disaster Management, we con-tinue to support farmers to improve the mitigation of agricultural disas-ters and preparedness by ensuring that farmers are supplied with early warning information.

We received R1 745 000 in December 2011 from DAFF to assist farmers with produc-tion inputs, soil testing, infrastructure repairs as well as land rehabilitation. A total of 36 farmers benefited from 646 bags of 50kg each of fertiliser.

Improved employment opportuni-ties and economic livelihoods (R13 675 000)
We are excited to announce that there is an increase in jobs created in the sector for the past quarters fol-lowing a decline over years.According to Stats SA, South Africa lost jobs during Quarter 1 in 2012 with the exception of the Agricultural Sec-tor which created 70 000 new jobs nationally.

Gauteng is one of the two Provinces that contributed 28 000 of these jobs. this excludes an additional 1 125 jobs created through our direct interventions. We must congratulatethe sector. This success is a result of our increase in investment on agriculture led by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and the Depart-ment of Rural Development and Land Reform.

This success must be sustained.The National Rural Youth Service Corps Programme in Gauteng aims to create jobs, while preparing the rural youth for employment by in-volving them in development work in their communities. 1 055 Gauteng youth were selected to participate in NARYSEC in 2011.

Apart from benefit-ing from their monthly stipends, the youth also gained valuable skills, pre-paring them to enter the mainstream job market. They were also trained in disaster management and other socio-economic development skills, such as conducting needs-assessment.

The Maize Triangle is the provincial flagship project aimed at revitalis-ing the production of maize and to increase the participation of emerg-ing farmers. Maize is the most widely produced crop in the province with most options for processing and mar-keting. Maize impacts positively on other sectors like animal production, biofuels, and is the most important staple food in South Africa.

Water Resource Protection (R11 932 000)
The SoER reveals that many of the wa-ter resources within the province are under stress from an increased demand for human and commercial use, poor management of water quality and degradation of river and wetland eco-systems. Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) is the greatest current concern relating to groundwater resources in our province both in the short and long term.

Our Constitution states “Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations”.Over the last five years Gauteng has made positive progress with Municipal drinking water quality management which has significantly improved and Gauteng is currently the top performing province in terms of its Blue Drop rating.

Climate change and improved air quality (R3 346 000)
The State of environment report also reveals that poor air quality remains a serious issue for Gauteng. Household fossil fuel or biomass burning, vehicle emissions and industrial processes cause high concentrations of air pol-lutants. In response to the promulga-tion of the Air Quality Act during 2004, Air Quality Management Plans have been developed for various munici-palities and provide for specific actions and targets for municipalities and the province.

Air quality stations in mu-nicipalities were repaired but there are still challenges in their operation.

Sustainable Environmental Management (R9 716 000)
The environment plays an essential role in determining the future oppor-tunities and constraints for growth and development. In the past, devel-opment emphasised exploitation and optimisation of the country’s mineral and natural resources with little con-cern for long-term environmental impacts and sustainability.

As per the Outcomes commitments, Government is committed to protect our environ-mental assets and natural resources.

In this regard, the Department has a duty to develop and implement policies, programmes and projects, working to-gether with stakeholders.We developed the Gauteng General Waste Minimisation Plan, Hazardous Waste Management Plan and General Waste Collection Standards. These are aimed at reducing waste at landfill sites, and the provision of consistent, uniform, waste collection and equitable services.

We are working with SALGA and the national Department of Environmen-tal Affairs to facilitate good waste man-agement in Gauteng. We delivered a Councillor Induction programme for Waste Management and trained 50 Councillors on the approved plans in order to facilitate waste minimisation. The need for separation of waste at source was emphasised to ensure that recycling is maximised and that the disposal of waste at municipal land-fills is minimised. All municipalities provide a blue bag as a minimum for the separation of recyclables – paper, plastic, glass and tin.

“Through this program we have committed to plant one million fruit and indigenous trees by 2014. To date, 378 483 trees have already been planted by government and some Non-Governmental Organisations. We need to intensify the effort and ac-count for all trees planted in the prov-ince, especially by our people in their households as we move towards the end of the term.With regards to Acid Mine Drainage (AMD), we continued to support the implementation of the national driven response to the problem. Together with the Department of Local Government and Housing, we participate in the Intergovernmental Structure responsible for coordinating the implementation of the immediate, short and long-term responses to the problem.

The implementation of the immediate and short-term solution has commenced (increasing the treatment capacity in the western basin, monitoring of water levels and the ingress of water); the long-term solution is still at investigation stage. Our Land Care projects include the Traditional Healers’ Medicinal Plants Conservation Project where 47 traditional healers, predominately women, were trained in an AgriSeta Accredited plant propagation Unit Standard.

Medicinal plants were dis-tributed to traditional healers in the West Rand, Bophelong, Alexandra, Tembisa, Orange Farm, Fochville and Khutsong. A communal medicinal plant garden was established in Tsolo High School in Bophelong. We will accelerate the filling in of vacancies and the payment of service providers within 30 days to improve on service delivery.

Stakeholder Engagement Programmes
In our endorsement of the statement that Government alone cannot be able to change the lives of the people and within the context of “together we can do more”, we will continue to forge mutually beneficial partner-ships with focus on unleashing the potential of the sector to create jobs, reduce hunger and poverty. 

The budget is divided as follows

  • Sustainable Agrarian Reform with a Thriving Small and Large Farming Sector (R84 191 000)
  • Improved access to affordable and diverse food (R29 827 000)
  • Improved employment opportunities and economic livelihoods (R13 675 000)
  • Water Resource Protection (R11 932 000)• Climate change and improved air quality (R3 346 000)
  • Sustainable Environmental Management (R9 716 000)
  • Protected Bio Diversity (R11 708 000)
  • An Effective, Efficient and development oriented public service (R57 424 000)

 

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