With a budget of R969.2 million in hand, the Western Cape department of agriculture sees a healthy future for the province’s agri sector, job creation and sustained food security.
Agriculture MEC Dr Ivan Meyer tabled his 2022 -2023 budget, stating that the province’s agricultural industry will not yet return to pre-Covid health but will continue to lead the economic recovery of the province and to create jobs.
Of the allocated budget, R37 million is earmarked for ecological infrastructure, R18.5 million for river protection and R48.1 million for provincial disaster relief grants.
The department is also busy developing the province’s agricultural strategy. “This strategy will guide the approach to the African market, anchored by the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.”
The provincial veterinary laboratory is another beneficiary of budget allocations, as it is set to be upgraded. “R97.3 million is set aside to provide animal health services, veterinary international trade facilitation and veterinary diagnostic services. Doing so will strengthen support for our clients and improve market access, grow the economy and create jobs,” Meyer says.
Memorandums of understanding will also be signed with commodity organisations, which is expected to bolster the department’s commodity approach strategy for farmer development in the Western Cape.
“The Western Cape Cannabis Plan (CanPlan) will be finalised in 2022 and will provide focused interventions and support to cannabis producers in the Western Cape.”
A total of 20 000 hectares will be cleared of alien vegetation while creating 800 green jobs, and the department will host the Youth and Young Research Climate Change and Agriculture Convention in June this year, as well as a multi-stakeholder drought and disaster dialogue in October.
Furthermore, an allocation of R10.2 million will see the rollout of substance abuse awareness and prevention sessions focusing on farmworker rights and rural youth.
Budget by numbers
The following budget allocations were also made:
- R176.4 million will provide agricultural engineering support, promote sustainable use and management of resources and reduce agricultural disaster risk.
- R296.7 million is allocated to producer support services, extension and advisory services, food security and the Casidra project management services.
- R41 million will be used for production, economic and marketing support to agri-businesses. The aim is to increase the number of well-trained and equipped commercial and smallholder farmers through strengthening partnerships with the private sector. Market access and value-adding opportunities are other goals.
- R139.6 million is set aside to conduct agricultural research and technology development and to increase farmers’ mitigation and adaptation options against climate change.
- R57.6 million is set aside for agricultural skills development and higher education and training to develop the requisite skills, knowledge and experience to secure the future of agriculture.
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