National Assembly: 13 April 2010
The IFP believes this to be a most critical
vote, particularly for the improvement of food security.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and
Fisheries has the immense task of ensuring that our country does not
rely solely on imported foodstuffs.
The Department must look at ways in which
the government can assist our own farmers in being as competitive as
their overseas counterparts, ways in which we can assist the farmers
in lowering production costs thereby ensuring cheaper retail prices
to consumers. The department must also look at ways in which we can
boost our own agricultural sector by assisting our farmers in a
manner which will lead to increased food production and also by
encouraging South Africans to buy and support local products.
In order for this to be a success, the
Department must ensure that people living on communal land receive
assistance in obtaining farming equipment and skills development
training and must be encouraged, at the very least, to be self
The IFP applauds the Department on its
programmes of support services, trade and agricultural development,
food and Bio-security, but at the same time tasks the Department to
do more. We have high unemployment and breadwinners are unable to
support their families, these people must be prioritized and
assisted by the Department.
Genetically modified foods need to be
analyzed very carefully for harmful chemicals used in the production
of such foods, as these chemicals eventually end up in the blood
systems of consumers and some have been known to have very dangerous
health implications. The department has a responsibility to the
people of South Africa to conduct all the necessary due diligence
tests on GM food crops.
From the 1st to the 3rd February of this
year, the Portfolio Committee visited the Ministry's farming
projects in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal. These projects are
dismal failures. The money spent on acquiring these farms has been
wasted for the simple reason that the farms are not productive; in
fact they are producing nothing. Wherein lies the problem?
And how can we learn from this so that it
does not occur again?
The IFP hopes that in the Department's new
approach of categorizing farmers into three groupings the Minister
will provide a clear allocation of funding for these categories, one
which will maximize and promote the best yields.
The Minister has also indicated that the
Department will be providing a R50 million allocation per province
for the purchase of tractors and other farming equipment for rural
and previously disadvantaged communities. The IFP welcomes this move
as it will go a long way in improving the lives of a great many
There are still numerous challenges though,
one of them being an adequate water supply to rural farming
communities. It has been said that rivers are drying up due to an
infestation of alien plant growth, this must be investigated and
addressed by the Department as a matter of urgency as lack of water
leads to poor crops and grazing land. Another being the recent
outbreak of Rift Valley Fever which must also be quickly isolated
That being said, the IFP supports the budget
I thank you.
Inkosi Russell Cebekhulu MP
082 975 5107