Agriculture Committee Calls for Speedy Transformation in the Sector
The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) engaged with stakeholders during a strategic workshop from 17 to 19 April with the aim of formulating strategic performance objectives for the five year term (2014-2019) and drafting its 2015/16 Annual Performance Plan.
The Committee said the workshop’s objectives were to align the Committee’s strategic objectives with those of the fifth Parliament; understand better the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector; determine the DAFF’s mandate and strategic priorities and their alignment with the National Development Plan (NDP) and medium-term strategic framework for the five-year term; and determine the DAFF and its entities’ work plans, policy and legislative programmes. Committee Chairperson Ms Machwene Semenya said that the Committee’s plans are guided by the NDP.
“The three sectors play the role of game-changer in economic development and contribution to growth and job creation. Therefore, it is fundamental that the transformational agenda in the sector is prioritised and accelerated,” Ms Semenya said. The Committee agreed that the DAFF should build a strategic relationship with agri-setas and work with the industry on a human resource development strategy for the sector. Furthermore, the Committee noted the uncoordinated support for smallholder farmers, which resulted in wastage.
The Committee urged the DAFF to look at a one-stop funding model, and create norms and standards for the education and training of the poor. The Committee further proposed that the training should not only focus on formal qualifications, but should also build the skills of the unskilled and illiterate in order to reach as many people as possible, particularly small-scale producers. The Committee noted with concern the absence of monitoring mechanisms that compromise food security. It also noted that poaching is a problem and agreed that there is a need to develop an aggressive law and order strategy to track the syndicates working in the country.
The adoption of a plan for small-scale fisheries was viewed by the Committee as a way to contribute to the wealth of poor people. Ms Semenya said agriculture is the key to transforming the lives of South Africans. The Committee supported the expansion of irrigation agriculture by 500 000 ha by 2030. This is a direct link to a NDP objective. The Committee emphasised the fundamental importance of links between DAFF and its entities, and that these should be clearly defined and entrenched on DAFF’s strategic plans to ensure that its annual performance plan is achievable. The Committee also called for the efficient management of plant and animals diseases and for a coherent implementation plan for the agricultural policy action plan.
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SOURCE: South African Official News