AFASA WELCOMES THE R6.2 BILLION BUDGET ALLOCATION FOR SUPPORT OF SMALLHOLDER FARMERS
27 Feb 2013
The African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA) wishes to applaud the Finance Minister Mr. Pravin Gordhan for the allocation of a total budget of R6.2 billion to support growth and development of smallholder farmers. In his 4th Budget Speech since taking over as Minister of Finance, Mr. Gordhan reassured South Africans of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries' continued support for smallholder farmers and fisheries sub-sector.
According to agri-focus budget policy documents tabled by the Minister in Parliament on Wednesday afternoon, DAFF is expected to support smallholder farmers through conditional grants such as the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP), the Landcare programme, Ilima/Letsema programme as well as mobilization of farmers, women and youth into agricultural cooperatives.
AFASA has however pleaded with the Minister for introduction of tough laws and policies aimed at ensuring speedy implementation of government programmes so as to maximize production levels, create jobs and grow the agricultural economy.
"We would like to call on the Minister to take harsh action against Accounting Officers who under-spend and delay service delivery. In our case as farmers, interventions which are not aligned to production circles are pointless." so says, AFASA's Managing Director, Mr. Aggrey Mahanjana.
South Africa's official mouthpiece of black and smallholder farmers has also congratulated government for its continued commitment on realization of the key pillars of the National Development Plan, infrastructure development, quality of education and job creation.
The Association further pleads with government to ensure that the budget allocated to the Department of Higher Education takes a deliberate bias towards revitalization of Agricultural Colleges and FET Institutions.
The Minister's ambiguity and silence on budget allocation for Rural Development and Land Reform as well as subsidizing of smallholder farmers through the Recapitalization and Development Programme were disappointing. AFASA holds a strong view that interventions aimed at productivity of the agricultural land will create and sustain jobs and ensure a food secure South Africa.
AFASA is a representative and unitary body of all African farmers which is committed to driving the establishment of competent and successful commercial African farmers of South Africa.
Mr. Aggrey Mahanjana
African Farmers' Association of South Africa (AFASA)
Tel: +27 (0) 12 348 8566
Cell: +27 (0) 82 556 7297 or +27 (0) 72 768 0238