It is another busy day in South African agriculture and high-up on our agricultural watch list is the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development who vowed to fast-track payments to 2019 YAFF award winners.
We are also keeping an eye on commitments made by the department in yesterday’s 2020-2021 budget vote, the citrus industry who exceeded export targets as well as new developments in agricultural tourism.
Didiza promises to fast-track YAFF dilemma
Food For Mzansi’s Duncan Masiwa reports that government has committed to “find a better way to fast-track the process” to resolve grievances from three young farmers who still have not received their prizes – more than a year after they were honoured in the YAFF Awards.
After turning to Food For Mzansi for help the three agriculturalists, Wayne Mansfield from the Western Cape, Siphesihle Kwetana from the Eastern Cape and Edward Kgarose from Limpopo, can now again look forward to receiving their cash prizes ranging from R100 000 to R200 000.
New commitments from DALRRD
New commitments by the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development was presented by deputy minister Sdumo Dlamini in his 2020-2021 budget vote for the department.
Dlamini states that 29 cotton-producing rural cooperatives in Mpumalanga had developed just over 1 500 hectares of rural crop fields. He says the department intends to bring an additional 3 000 hectares of rural fields into production in the next two years, which will bring more rural households into self-employment.
In 2016 the department endeavoured to increase rural goat production and to commercialise rural goat herds. The department says it will have increased the number of youth micro-businesses to 700 by the end of 2020.
Furthermore, the department is committing in the remaining months of this financial year to the following:
- the budget allocation for rural infrastructure development is R495 million. This includes infrastructure to support 15 farmer production support units;
- a total of 1 001 youth were recruited during January 2020, as part of the DDM pilot projects in OR Tambo, eThekwini and Waterberg districts. The NARYSEC budget of R273 million for this financial year will be, amongst others, utilised for stipends and training of these DDM youth, as well as other youth who were recruited in 2018 and 2019 and who are still in the system;
- an amount of R7 million will be used in technical research and development; and
- contributing to improving rural livelihoods and job creation.
Citrus industry exceeds export targets
Despite the covid-19 pandemic and the national lockdown the citrus producers are working hard to grow exports in the citrus industry. Transnet Port Terminals announced on Wednesday that it had exceeded its key export target of 13% in citrus export volumes. According to a statement, citrus volumes were 20.2% higher at the Cape Town container terminal, 31.2% higher at the Durban container terminals and 32.3% higher than prior year volumes at the Ngqura and Port Elizabeth container terminals.
Department of tourism’s budget vote
In her department’s budget vote, the minister of tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, yesterday announced she was confident that her department were still going to meet a target of creating 2500 work opportunities through the working for tourism projects.
The minister says before the covid-19 crisis budget allocation for the department was R2,480 billion of which R1,304 billion was for transfers and subsidies. The department’s revised budget allocation for 2020 to 2021 is R1,480 billion of which R505 million is for transfers and subsidies.
Despite the massive budget cuts, the deputy minister for the tourism department, Fish Mahlalela, said they will create 2500 work opportunities through the department’s expanded public works programme (EPWP) during this financial year.
Projects for this year and next year include:
- Tour guide capacity building;
- Food safety quality assurers;
- Wine service training (sommelier);
- Hospitality and fast food training programmes.
Unfortunately, the youth chefs training and coastal marine tourism skills development programmes were suspended due to covid-19 restrictions and risk assessments.
From a destination development perspective, the department will continue on their path of inclusive growth through investments in community tourism, and will this year conclude concepts for the following community-based tourism projects:
- Numbi Gate in Mpumanga: Ehlanzeni District Municipality;
- Nandoni Dam in Limpopo: Vhembe District Municipality;
- Tshathogwe Game Farm in Limpopo;
- Mtititi Game Farm in Lmpopo: Mopani District Municipality; and
- Mapate Recreational Social Tourism Facility in Limpopo: Vhembe District Municipality.