Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries : Budget Vote 26
By Hon RN Cebekhulu MP

 

National Assembly, 19th April 2011 

Honourable Chairperson

South Africa has a dual agricultural economy . One part concentrates on commercial farming and exports and another part with subsistence farming for citizens and families in rural areas.

South Africa is also one of the few countries capable of exporting food on a regular basis. This is largely due to our summer season coinciding with the winters in a number of wealthy countries in the developed world.

For us to be competitive and take advantage of these seasonal boons we need a Department that ensures that our foodstuffs, produce and animal products are of a globally acceptable standard.

The Department has a duty to ensure that our land and animals remain disease free.

On The 14th April, this year we had to suspend the export of ostrich meat to the European Union after a strain of Avian Bird Flu had been detected in the Western Cape.

All of our cloven hoof exports are still suspended. This last outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease has had a crippling effect on meat exports and has thus been an hurdle to our economic recovery with countries such as China suspending all meat imports from South Africa. This situation could have been avoided if simple heed had been given by the department to the call for the re-establishment of the red-line fence which would have adequately controlled the movement of livestock within areas regarded as high risk areas.

In 2008 the sum of 25 million rand was allocated for the repair of the red line fence and one can only wonder what happened to those funds as no repairs were effected.

The localized effects of this outbreak of foot and mouth disease on the local livestock farming community in Northern Kwa-zulu Natal has been devastating. Subsistence farmers who usually slaughter and sell meat and livestock at both pension point pay offices, auctions and areas along the roads have all been prevented from exercising their trades and only means of generating income for their families. This is unacceptable and could have easily been prevented.

Chairperson, the Ministry provided an allocation for the purchase of tractors and other farming tools and hardware to subsistence farmers in order to promote successful subsistence farming practices within these areas in order to promote food security.

These initiatives were highly welcomed by the communities and should have assisted greatly with the success of communal land use. One of the challenges however was that the tractor operators were employees who worked from 08h00 to 16h00. These employees needed to first be transported to the areas they were working, the result being that the tractors were only running a couple hours per day and hence very little ploughing was actually taking place.

We have one of the largest man made forestry resources on the planet.13% of our surface area can be used for crop farming and production. We are the worlds 10th largest sunflower seed and sugar producer. Our wine industry is world class. We have an abundance of arable land and there is no reason for us to experience shortages of any kind foodstuffs.

Our rural farmers require assistance though knowledge of farming methods, easy access to finance for farm implements etc and both sectors require a disease free environment in which to farm.
The IFP hope to see the Department taking a far more pro-active approach in this regard.

The IFP supports the vote

I thank you.

Hon RN Cebekhulu