“The year of the freedom Charter and Unity in action to advance economic freedom!
Forward with radical socio-economic transformation!”
Honourable Minister Nkwinti
Honourable Members of Parliament
Officials of the department
Our partners in Rural Development and Land Reform
Fellow South Africans
Ladies and gentlemen
On this, the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, we remember the famous words: “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white.”
His Excellency, the President in the State of the Nation address announced a 9 point plan to turn around the South African economy and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has a significant role to play in several of the points announced but most importantly we have a key role in priority 1: revitalising agriculture and the agro processing value chain. Given the nature of our mandate of rural development, we will also be driving initiatives to give effect to other priorities including Unlocking SMME, co-ops, township and rural enterprises’ potential
Our Constitution exhorts us to “improve the quality of life of all citizens, and free the potential of each person”, and we all share the responsibility of finding the best way to do this.
Since shortly after we opened our doors as the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform in 2009, our flagship project has been the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme. The sole objective of the CRDP is to transform the rural economy. That means bringing real benefits to rural people and the poor across South Africa. It means meeting basic human needs, enabling enterprise development, and providing vital infrastructure. We have encountered and cleared many obstacles – yet many remain.
Madam Speaker, Radical change must bring real benefits to rural people and the poor across South Africa.
The National Development Plan (NDP) provides a long term vision for accelerating development so that food security can increase, unemployment and inequality be reduced, creating a more inclusive society. This will be achieved through diligent implementation of our plans and programmes as articulated in our (Annual Performance Plan (APP).
The NDP is the road-map for our programmes and Chapter Six of the NDP sets out the trajectory for rural economic transformation and development. The vision is rural areas that are spatially, socially and economically well integrated – across municipal, district, provincial and regional boundaries – where there is economic growth, food security and jobs as a result of agrarian transformation and infrastructure development programmes with improved access to basic services, health care and quality education.
Madam Speaker, the department implements socio-economic infrastructure projects to support rual communities. One of these, completed last year, is the Beaufort West Youth Hub. It consists of a TVET College for the youth, community swimming pool, gymnasium, community amphitheatre, and a combi-court for several sports disciplines. The total cost was R55 million. This facility, and others like it, underscores our commitment to placing youth at the centre of development by giving them opportunities to access the skills required to build our country.
Over the past financial year the Animal and Veld Management programme (AVMP) has gained momentum across the country with more than 200 projects implemented. Significant progress was made in KwaZulu-Natal where several projects were completed at a value of R45m benefitting 2000 livestock farmers. In addition we have also launched an auction facility in Msinga which is beginning to assist farmers to turn their livestock into economic assets and generating income for rural households. This AVMP has created more than 1600 jobs last year specifically through the soil rehabilitation and debushing component.
Over the past year, we have also implemented 31 projects to revitalize 5 irrigation schemes across the country with key focus in KwaZulu-Natal, MP, EC and NW through the implementation of the river valley catalytic programme which deals primarily with the revitalization of irrigation schemes and agricultural development along river beds in South Africa.
In this financial year, we intend to build on the gains that we have achieved thus far.
In the State of the Nation, his Excellency, the President announced the establishment of district Agri-Parks. Madame speaker, an Agri-Park will, in the medium term, be established in all 44 districts. An Agri-Park will essentially ensure development from primary production through to processing and value addition while at the same time fostering development of related enterprises. The Agri-Parks will be designed in a manner that allows the central component of the model to eventually emerge into a centre for various activities not limited to agriculture including warehousing, processing, retail, input supplies; distribution, services access, financial services, market access, training and development.
These parks will organise and mobilise farmers and agri-business entrepeneurs. Partnerships with government departments, such as DAFF, the dti, the Department of Small Business Development, COGTA, DWAS ,Provincial Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development and district municipalities; is critical to develop economic infrastructure like, roads, energy, water, ICT, transportation and logistics corridors that support the agri-park value chain.
Honourable members, we are looking to the Agri-Parks model to achieve a transformational breakthrough- improving capacity and production of smallholder farmers, value chain development, market access, encouraging private farmers participation and investment, and most significantly, ensuring that resources are better utilized through focused interventions that can contribute to significant job creation.
In this financial year, the department will drive the establishment of the Agri-Parks using the current programmes as levers for implementation. The following programmes will assist us to drive this initiative: River Valley Catalytic Programme, Animal and Veld Management Programme, Enterprise and Industry development, infrastructure development and the Narysec programme.
Honourable Members, since the instruction in the SONA, work has been progressing steadily. An evidence based approach is being followed to ensure that all pertinent issues from production, to supply and market access are considered to mitigate risks in implementation. To this end, detailed analysis has been conducted looking at several variables to ensure that areas selected for the agri-park development are based on economic advantage and fundamental elements of the value chain for dominant commodity products in a defined area. The following analysis has been completed: socio economic, commodity value chain, community, infrastructure including roads, energy, water, agro processing facilities etc; income and economic data as provided by the Department of Economic Development. The analysis work has been done in partnership with DAFF, EDD and CSIR.
Based on the above, the department has had consultative sessions with provincial and local government. As a result of these interactions, sites have been identified in nearly all of the 27 districts across the country and in some areas work has already commenced. The intention is that many of the activities will run simultaneously to ensure that we are able to meet the deadline of being on the ground with implementation by September.
Given the current challenges faced by black smallholder farmers in production and market access as well as the limited in roads they have made into the agricultural value chain, it is proposed that the state will develop a support model for the Agri-Parks for a period of 10 years to ensure sustainability.
If implemented as planned with the collaboration of all sector departments, the Agri-Parks will lay the foundations for rural industrialization; make rural economy transformation a reality and permanently free rural communities from food insecurity.
The agri-parks will create a class of black commercial farmers that has the necessary technical expertise and the ability to supply the market sustainably at the desired market quality. This will ensure rural economy transformation and food security for our rural communities.
Community development will also occur through income generated by the value addition capability of the agri-park where profits will be reinvested in the community through an Investment Financing Facility.
R2 billion has been set aside for the implementation of the Agri Park Programme this year and this will be allocated across the districts with an additional portion of the resources being made available to the most vulnerable municipalities to assist with technical support and capacity to drive this initiative. To ensure that we have the required technical capacity both at National and District level, to roll out simultaneously in all districts, a project management unit (PMU) with satellite district offices will be established as an implementation support mechanism.
In this financial year, R110 million will be invested in 20 projects to support the River Valley Catalytic programme. The primary focus will be to revitalise irrigation schemes and development of smallholder farmers focusing on horticulture, grains; and lucerne to support the livestock industry. R174m will be invested in the Animal and Veld Management programme which will focus on rehabilitation of degraded lands to improve crop production; debushing and infrastructure to support the livestock industry; R223 million will be invested in agro processing infrastructure to drive the development of the hub of the agri-park model. This will include various types of infrastructure to support the various commodities including abattoirs, mills, dairies, silos etc.
We have also reorganised our industry and enterprise support programme to focus on certain key areas that will support the smallholder farmers; women; youth and people with disabilities. R208 million will be invested to support farmers to improve their production and other related enterprises directly linked to the agri park model. This support will include capacity building, business planning and operating capital. We will work closely with the department of Small Business Development, DAFF and other State owned Enterprises that can assist with business development. Enterprises will be supported to develop in the following commodities; livestock, poultry; grains; horticulture among others. We will in this year also focus on development of enterprises that focus on niche crops and aquaculture.
We will be working closely with relevant departments to ensure that we utilise fully the “state” markets and 30% set asides as announced by his Excellency, the President with specific focus on the commodities produced in the agri-parks aligned to APAP. The Rural Industry development programme will also investigate equity models that will give rural people access into value chain industries.
We will also build on the work that has started in developing the arts and crafts industry in the rural areas. More than 1000 women have been trained and assisted in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape. We have been able to drive this programme through a partnership with Mninizo Trading.
A strategy is being finalised to upscale this programme in this financial year to ensure that it is expanded and extended to all provinces and also includes women in all the various sectors of the industry. To support these cooperatives with market access, the department has helped to establish a retail outlet in Durban. This together with the trade fairs that cooperatives have been able to participate in has significantly improved access to domestic and various international markets. R37m will be invested this year to build on this work. This can become a significant job driver in rural areas.
In the past year we supported the Abasuki cooperative in the EC who focus on the production of traditional clothes. We are pleased to announce that Abasuki was able to show case their work at the recent Cape Town Jazz Festival with the assistance of a private entity TCIA. We will this year be increasing our involvement in the area of fashion design and production by supporting various rural enterprises and promoting equity models with established businesses.
In this financial year R112 million has been set aside to support 65 new non agricultural rural enterprises.
In the past financial year we have been supporting the development of arts and culture in rural areas through infrastructure development and direct support to cooperatives. Madam Speaker, we are pleased to have in our midst today, members of the African Senako group, which is a group of young people with disabilities that are promoting arts across the country and internationally.
In other areas across the rural municipalities beyond the 27 districts, socio economic infrastructure projects to the value of R289 million will be implemented and will include the provision of water, sanitation, energy, roads, early childhood development centres, information and communication technology facilities, sports and recreation and heritage facilities to the rural poor. Several of these projects will assist in revitalisation of rural towns and assist in creating rural-urban linkages in support of the Agri-Parks.
In rural development, 4 500 skills development opportunities will be provided through rural economic transformation and 8 000 people will be employed in rural development initiatives, inclusive of agri-parks.
Madam Speaker, the National Rural Youth Service Corps NARYSEC – continues to flourish. In this financial year 4 481 youth will be trained in pertinent skills required for rural economic transformation including engineering and the built environment; agricultural development; business management and administration; hospitality, tourism, and arts and crafts; education and development training, safety and security.
We are pleased to indicate that we have partnered with the Big Fish, School of Digital Film Making to train our young people and we have in the gallery today the Managing Director of the company and Narysec youth who are part of the crew providing communication services to the department.
Minister Nkwinti announced that we have recently opened the Narysec headquarters in ThabaNchu. Through a strategic partnership with the SANDF, we are currently in the process of fully operationalising the college to ensure that we are able to conduct a significant portion of the training programme at the facility but in addition it is envisaged that various other support services for Narysec will be offered including enterprise support.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform is charged with the coordination of Outcome 7; meaning the coordination of the work of sector departments and State owned Enterprises in ensuring integrated and sustainable development. We will therefore continue to strengthen the coordination of Outcome 7 and in this year will finalise rural development plans for the 27 poorest districts which will assist us to coordinate rural development across the country.
To improve service delivery, the department will strengthen internal alignment through the institutionalisation of various governance structures flowing from district level to Ministerial level. This will ensure improved monitoring and value for money in the implementation of our projects.
Madame Speaker, the key to transforming the rural economy and unlocking the potential of rural people lies in our ability as government to act in unison; working together, rural and urban, government and private sector, I believe that we can take South Africa forward.
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