Home News Three things happening in SA agriculture today – 28 July 2020

Three things happening in SA agriculture today – 28 July 2020

Parliament discusses the DALRRD’s revised annual performance plan, animal diseases and sugar industry, food dialogues in Cape Town underway and KZN community thrives with bee business amidst pandemic

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The week started off with a busy Monday on the South African agriculture scene, and Tuesday promises to be even busier. Food For Mzansi has our eye on the national assembly, where the agriculture and trade and industry portfolio committees will be discussing some important matters.

And while something’s buzzing in the parliamentary beehive, we track down bees in KwaZulu-Natal that earn money for a community despite the covid-19 pandemic and nation-wide lockdown. We also check in with a food summit that’s currently underway in the Mother City.

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Parliament buzzing with agriculture talks

The national assembly will be busy today as the portfolio committee on agriculture, land reform and rural development convenes to deliberate on the department of agriculture, land reform and rural development (DALRRD) revised annual performance plan for 2020/2021. The assembly will also be virtually updated by the DALRRD on the status of animal diseases in the country. The meeting has been scheduled for 09:00 am until 12:00 pm.

Also meeting today is the portfolio committee on trade and industry. Minister Ebrahim Patel will brief the national assembly on the ongoing crisis in the sugar and steel industries.

The sugar industry has been heavily impacted in the recent years due to an inpouring of imports which threatened tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of thousands of livelihoods.

To revive the industry, Patel in June gazetted amendments to the Sugar Industry Agreement and South African Sugar Association Constitution. Government, together with industry stakeholders including producers and users of sugar, developed a masterplan to enable the industry to restructure and grow.

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The sugar masterplan proposes actions to protect thousands of jobs, rural livelihoods and businesses, and at the same time create a bold new ambition for the future, which seeks to create diversified revenue streams for sugar producers, and deliver significant new job opportunities.

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Food dialogues in Cape Town

A summit on food currently underway in Cape Town is shaping the food system by discussing the covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the Mother City’s food system.

The online event, dubbed “Food Dialogues: Cape Town 2020”, is a multi-part series of talks and interactive engagements on the local food system bringing together diverse speakers involved in shaping the system.

On the discussing table is the current state of food and what changes have been made, are underway, and are planned that impact it. The event also looks at what the future of our food system might be. The Food Dialogues series is an opportunity to assess the situation, the response, and the way forward after the initial shock of the pandemic and lockdown.

The free event produced in partnership with Food Security SA, African Centre for Cities and ORIBI Village, takes place until 14 August 2020. For more information, visit the Food Dialogues website.

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KZN beekeepers thrive amidst pandemic

Food For Mzansi will later today draw our readers’ attention to a story about a KwaZulu-Natal community bordering a forestry plantation. This community has become thriving beekeepers and show encouraging results amidst the covid-19 pandemic.

Food For Mzansi founder Ivor Price tells us that collectively, since the beginning of the year, the participating families have harvested about five tonnes of honey, earning close to R360 000 despite the national lockdown. The buzzing success is all thanks to the African Honey Bee programme which is run by Guy Stubbs.

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Duncan Masiwa
Duncan Masiwa
DUNCAN MASIWA is a budding journalist with a passion for telling great agricultural stories. He hails from Macassar, close to Somerset West in the Western Cape, where he first started writing for the Helderberg Gazette community newspaper. Besides making a name for himself as a columnist, he is also an avid poet who has shared stages with artists like Mahalia Buchanan, Charisma Hanekam, Jesse Jordan and Motlatsi Mofatse.
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