National Assembly, 19th April 2011
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
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
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