NERPO Press Releases

AFASA PLEADS WITH PRESIDENT ZUMA TO EXPEDITE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF IFSNI (FETSA TLALA)

07 Oct 2013

Media Release

For Immediate Release

AFASA PLEADS WITH PRESIDENT ZUMA TO EXPEDITE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF IFSNI (FETSA TLALA)

In the wake of a slow implementation of Integrated Food Security and Nutrition Initiative (IFSNI), the African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) at their special National Executive Council Meeting held in Pretoria yesterday, made a desperate plea to President Jacob ZUMA to immediately intervene so as to expedite the IFSNI.

IFSNI is the Presidential initiative which, among other things, seeks to promote the revival of unused agricultural land by strengthening public-private partnerships, harnessing the synergy of common strength and collective participation of farmers, thus empowering communities through creation of jobs while ensuring food security.

The AFASA Secretary-General, Mr Aggrey Mahanjana lamented that: "IFNSI is a critical program since it targets small holder farmers and ensures that the gains made in restoring land to the people is enhanced by bringing this land into production. Through the IFNSI much needed resources, infrastructure and support are being directed at small holder farmers and the rural poor in significant proportions for the first time. The project cannot afford to be delayed any longer by beauracratic processes and red-tape since every passing day without the land being reaped and planted puts the project in jeorpardy. At this time of the year the rains are coming and yet the land are still fallow and lying unattended".

"Our members are extremely concerned about the pace at which the project is moving. When President Zuma outlined his plans at Mahlabandlovu early this year, we were obviously very excited and informed members to prepare themselves. We expressly requested that plans be aligned to the planting season so as to yield maximum results. The planting season has began and farmers are beginning to loose confidence and trust in the President's initiative. Our understanding is that service providers have been appointed to roll-out the program but we are unsure of what causes the delay"

Mahanjana cautioned that farmers were threatening of withdrawing from the project if tilling of the land was not aligned to the planting season.

"We would like to make a special plea to President Zuma to immediately intervene and unlock all the bottlenecks as country's food security could not be delayed any further"

Meanwhile, AFASA is scheduled to meet with the office of the President this week, to further discuss it's objection of the controversial deal of AFGRI, a transaction it views as "strategic to transformation".

AFASA is a unitary and an official national representative body of South Africa's smallholder farmers whose primary aim is to create competent and successful commercial farmers.

AFASA will hold its 2nd Annual General Meeting at St George Hotel and Conference Centre on the 20th-22nd of October 2013. The ruling party's Deputy President Dr Cryl Ramaphosa is expected to address about 3000 farmers from across nine provinces of the Republic of South Africa. Details of the AGM are available on AFASA website www.afasa.za.org