Manopole allocates R233m to support N. Cape farmers
The Northern Cape has allocated R233 million for eight different farmer support and development programmes. MEC Mase Manopole said, “My vision is to see a transforming and appealing agricultural and environmental department which will be able to lure more young people to the sector.”
The Northern Cape MEC for land reform, agriculture and nature conservation and environmental affairs, Mase Manopole, has allocated no less than 34% of her new budget for farmer support and development programmes.
This amounts to R233 million which will be spent on eight different programmes within her department. Manopole’s total budget for her portfolio is nearly R879 million. It was approved last week during her budget vote speech.
The strong focus on farmer support and development was to increase participation from young people in the Northern Cape in agriculture, said Manopole.
“We cannot leave our young people behind. My vision is to see a transforming and appealing agricultural and environmental department which will be able to lure more young people to the sector.”
The MEC’s youth-focused budget also includes a partnership with the National Youth Development Agency. This, she revealed, was inspired by the placement of 75 unemployed agricultural graduates on various farms throughout the province in April.
Administration: Manopole allocated R196.254 million toward the formulation and management of policy directives.
Sustainable resource management: R16.1 million is for the Northern Cape’s Land Use Management sub-programme, R4.6 million for engineering services and R7.7 million for LandCare purposes.
Manopole added that the national department of agriculture, land reform and rural development had also added drought relieve funding of R35.689 million to the provincial purse. This was rolled out to 3 907 farmers in the districts of Namakwa, ZF Mgcawu and Pixley Ka Seme.
Farmer support and development: The Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) and the Ilima/Letsema project will be support. For CASP, R120 million was allocated while Ilima got R68.9 million.
Manopole said, “The use of CASP and Ilima/Letsema continues to respond to the post-settlement support to smallholder farmers to increase production, support food security initiatives, create jobs and transform the agricultural sector.”
Veterinary services: This programme was allocated R48 million. The department will embark on a rabies awareness and vaccination drive in September this year.
Research and technology development services: R59.9 million was allocated. “Agricultural research is paramount for improved production, food security and nutrition, it also impacts on job creation and the living conditions of the poor,” said Manopole.
Agricultural economic services: For this, R12.1 million was budgeted. “The programme has the responsibility to provide production economics and marketing services for agri-businesses and facilitate agro-processing initiatives to ensure participation in the value chain,” said Manopole.
Rural development: Manopole’s budget makes provision for R20.1 million toward rural development. She also vowed to continue to work towards the improvement of the livelihoods of farmworkers and farm dwellers.
Environment and nature conservation: Manopole tabled a budget of R78.1 million toward environment and nature conservation in the Northern Cape.