At just over R239 million, the Northern Cape agri department’s budget for farmer support and development will be the biggest winner from the province’s overall budget in the coming financial year.
Mase Manopole, the MEC for agriculture, environmental affairs, rural development and land reform, delivered her budget speech yesterday (Tuesday, 21 June 2022) and said that agricultural producer support and development will receive 39% of the province’s total budget of R686 million in the coming months.
This money will cover the existing Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP), Ilima/Letsema and the expansion of extension services in the province.
The department has put aside a further almost R27.5 million for sustainable resource management to provide engineering support to farmers, for sustainable development and management of agricultural resources.
R49 million will go towards veterinary services to ensure animal health in the province. “The programme will continue to focus on the implementation and the monitoring of the compulsory community service for veterinarians and the primary animal health programmes,” Manopole said.
“In addition, abattoir monitoring, food safety campaigns and ensuring that the laboratory maintains its Sanas accreditation are key activities that will also be undertaken.”
Research and technology development will be done with about R61 million, agriculture economic services – to facilitate market access for smallholder farmers and agribusinesses and to provide financial information, among others – will be done with about R12 million and rural development – entailing pre and post settlement support to the beneficiaries of land reform – with R20 million.
The rest of the budget is allocated to environment and nature conservation, and administration.
Manopole said that these programmes are all geared towards a modern, growing and successful province.
She highlighted severe drought, locust outbreaks, veld fires, climate change, flood waters and biodiversity loss as among the overarching challenges that farmers face. On farm level they also suffer a lack of funding, a lack of access to land, inadequate markets and inaccessible water.
“The department has indeed been hard at work despite all mentioned and acknowledged challenges but we are on course and we will not disappear.”
Upgrades to Tshwane fresh produce market
In other news, the City of Tshwane allocated R8 million to the maintenance of its fresh produce market. In a statement, the City also said that another R10 million will go towards upgrading and extending market facilities.
The upgrades will entail:
- upgrading the ripening centre;
- redesigning market entrances, exits and associated works;
- upgrading public lights;
- upgrading perforated market trading hall roller doors; and
- installing and commissioning a 500 kVA emergency generator.
In addition to these capital initiatives, City management will also do the following repairs and maintenance to fix:
- roof leaks;
- drains (including storm water drainage and trading hall drainage systems);
- electricity reticulation systems;
- ablution facilities;
- market platform surfaces; and
- the cold storage plant.
“Our implementation of infrastructure upgrades and maintenance is expected to result in an increase in business coming to the market,” the City said, “and an improved service to stakeholders, in particular farmers and buyers.
The Tshwane Fresh Produce Market is a trading platform that is open to all producers and farmers to trade with fresh produce.
On any given trading day, the market serves approximately 6 800 producers from all over South Africa and neighbouring countries. In addition, over 5 000 clients visit the market, providing employment opportunities to about 1 000 people in the various business enterprises located within the market facility.
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