Finance minister Enoch Godongwana is set to deliver his first mid-term budget today (Thursday, 11 November). Agri Western Cape’s expectations for the budget framework is centred around getting the Land Bank back on its feet, infrastructure investment and supporting drought-stricken areas.
Agri Western Cape said it is grateful for this special year that the agricultural sector experienced. However, there are still industries that are experiencing the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and need financial support from the state to get back on its feet.
“The position in which the Land Bank finds itself needs urgent attention, and not just by continuing to dump taxpayers’ money into a bottomless pit,” the farmer organisation wrote in a media statement.
“The management and structure of the institution must be drastically rectified if there is any hope of getting the Land Bank back on track in any way.”
Agri Western Cape also hopes that adequate and urgent attention will be paid to the necessary infrastructure. The province’s exports of agricultural products performed excellently in 2020, while the medium-term outlook looks promising, they added.
“It is still unclear what the extent and format of support will be to the drought-stricken areas,” Agri Western Cape said.
This after the national disaster management centre declared the drought that still prevails in parts of the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape, a national disaster in July this year.
Agri Western Cape also trusts that the budget framework will shed more light on the Treasury’s intervention at Eskom.
The power utility’s financial results for 2020/21, published on 31 August 2021, indicate that the group suffered an after-tax loss of R18.9 billion.
“This while the enormous increases in power tariffs and ongoing load shedding are having an extremely detrimental effect on the agricultural sector. This in turn poses a very high risk to the country’s economic recovery and job creation,” said Agri Western Cape.
Consumers in India love Mzansi’s fruit
Indian consumers can’t get enough of Mzansi’s fruit. Hortgro India announced a remarkable upsurge in the demand for South African apples and pears in the Indian market.
According to ANI, Hortgro launched a campaign to increase awareness about the excellent products from South Africa. The campaign is expected to support easy access to delicious South African produce by Indian consumers.
The news agency reports that in the past two years Hortgro has seen an exponential rise in India’s demand for these fruits. A variety of apples and pears ranging from Pink Lady Apples, Royal Gala and Granny Smith to Vermont Beauty, Forelle and Packham Pears are currently available in Indian markets.
Sachin Khurana, India representative for Hortgro said: “The South African pome fruit growers, packers and exporters are extremely committed to supplying Indian consumers with excellent quality and great tasting products. I see a lot of interest and enthusiasm from large importers and retailers from India about the business possibility that South African produce brings.”
According to industry data, 2021 has been an extraordinary year for South African apples and pears. Until 20 October 2021, almost 767 000 boxes or 9 588 tons of apples and 1 348 000 boxes or 16 850 tons of pears were imported to India.
Sign up for Mzansi Today: Your daily take on the news and happenings from the agriculture value chain.