AFASA submits sector transformation master plan to the ANC's Economic Transformation Cluster.

30 Jul 2013

The African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) has submitted the agricultural sector's transformation master plan to the ANC's Economic Transformation Cluster. The submission is a culmination of a series of consultative meetings held between AFASA and the ANC's Secretary-General, Mr. Gwede Mantashe as well as the Chairperson of the Economic Cluster, Mr. Enoch Godongwana.

At a meeting held at Luthuli House in June 2013, AFASA made a desperate plea with the ANC's Economic Cluster, for the ruling party to act decisively in influencing the policy of government so as to aggressively transform the agricultural sector. AFASA's plea arose from a snail-pace transformation of the sector, as well as a steady growth and development of the new entrants despite a number of government's policy documents which have been developed for more than 18 years. The ANC subsequently instructed AFASA to collate and submit proposals of smallholder farmers' support packages.

In its submission, AFASA has also noted that during the 2013's State of the Nation Address, President Zuma has equally acknowledged that the economy continue to be confronted by skewed patterns of ownership of the means of production owing to inequality.

The policy proposals made in the Sector Transformation Master Plan include but are not limited to:

- Fast-tracking of ownership of agricultural land for small holder farmers;
- Introduction of energy, fuel and insurance subsidies for smallholder farmers, to reduce production costs;
- Introduction of the transformation levy, for farmer support and transformation programmes;
- Developing of an electronic and reliable master database of all farmers;
- Developing of a funding model for farmers and other agri-entrepreneurs;
- Establishment and support of secondary agricultural cooperatives in all 52 districts of the Republic of South Africa;
- Diagnostic study and review of current policies and strategies to identify policy gaps while recommending remedial action;
- Developing of policy framework for effective management and utilization of communal land; and
- Establishment of service delivery mechanisms outside government's bureaucracy.

The National Executive Council (NEC) has plans to meet with President Zuma, Ministers and Directors-General in the Agrarian Reform and the Economic Cluster with a view to improve the implementation of government policies and programmes.

AFASA is the official national representative body of all smallholder farmers with 25 000 members for whom it commits to create an enabling environment within which to produce successful competent commercial farmers.