_: I extend a special welcome to the farmers present today, and thank them for accepting our invitation to attend this very important workshop. I am aware
that some of you have had to travel long distances to be here, and have to spend time away from your family and farms, we thank you for taking the time out to be here.
We have together, in numerous similar forums made a commitment to our country to ensure food security for all, our commitment must remain steadfast.
We further committed to the principles of the Green Paper on Land Reform, namely:
deracialisation of the rural economy for shared and sustained growth;
democratic and equitable land allocation and use across gender, race and class; and,
strict production discipline for guaranteed national food security.
My address today is premised on these principles, and should be foremost on our minds as we deliberate today; deliberations which will result in a trajectory that will carve the way ahead in terms the Recapitalisation and Development Programme (Recap).
The primacy of food sovereignty and security undergirds the establishment of Recap. It is targeting all people who, since 1994, received land from government, through programmes broadly defined as restitution and redistribution, as well as persons from historically disadvantaged communities who might have bought farms through their own means, but could be deserving of support.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me share with you an sms with, that I sent to a farmer regarding the signing of a contract:
“ Nkwinti here. You have to sign the contract. That is what constitutes a binding performance relationship between you and the DRDLR (Department of Rural Development and Land Reform). What has been put on hold, and continues to be put on hold, which is what I addressed with you and other farmers, is rental payment. Rental payment is linked to the strategic support which the DRDLR is rendering to farmers under Recap. That is why you must sign the contract. The Recap is a five-year support programme per farmer or group of farmers.
At the end of five years of each contract, a comprehensive assessment of the farmer’s, or group of farmers’, performance will be conducted. If the farmer, or group of farmers, would have failed to comply with the contract, then,
if the contract is based on PLAS, the ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ principle kicks in, and the farm is taken back by the DRDLR, and redistributed to other deserving, able and committed people;
if the farmer, or group of farmers, would have performed well on the contract and programme, and the contract is based on PLAS, arrangements for rental payment kick in; but,
if the contract is not based on PLAS, and there is no compliance with the contract, and there is poor or no performance at all, despite the Recap support, contract is discontinued, and no further DRDLR interventions will take place. That is why you must sign the contract.”
Ladies and gentleman, following on what I just said, I wish to describe to you the recapitalisation model as is depicted on the screen. This model is in essence how the recapitalisation programme is structured, and it is imperative that we all understand this model, both farmers, strategic partners, mentors and officials. I have requested the officials to ensure that all of you receive a copy thereof.
Establishing a rural co-operatives financing facility
Ladies and Gentleman, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform’s Comprehensive Rural Development Programme has three phases for rural development:
Meeting basic human needs;
Rural enterprise development; and,
Rural industries, sustained by credit facilities and local markets.
The Green Paper on Rural Development proposes a Rural Development Agency, anchored by a Rural Co-operatives Bank. The latter proposal is driven by the DRDLR’s progress on three fronts, which need socialised financial resourcing and servicing, namely:
Rural and small town women and youth crafters; and,
the National Rural Youth Service Corps (the NARYSEC).
The thinking in the DRDLR is as follows:
that the DRDLR will deposit 70% of an agreed upon Seed Fund for Rural Cooperative Financing Facility;
that participants in the three programmes take up shares to make up the remaining 30%, progressing to 50% over a period of five years, and 100% in 10 years;
that the DRDLR will use Rural Cooperative Financing Facility to deposit all funds for the three programmes; and,
that it would be compulsory for participants in the three Programmes to use Rural Cooperative Financing Facility for borrowing, lending, investments and savings.
This proposal is considered very progressive in that it would usher in great possibilities for wealth creation and ownership by rural producers of goods and services; and, it would create a strategic basis for sustainable development of the rural economy.
Ladies and gentleman, in conclusion we must address the following:
We need to streamline the recap commodity groups;
We need a household profile of each recap farm;
What is the impact of the Programme, in terms of the livelihoods it supports, the quality and number of jobs created; and,
What are the duties, responsibilities and obligations of the recipients of the Recap Support System?
Ladies and gentleman, let us be frank about the challenges we face, yet as we do so, hold to our hearts the development of our country, the strides we have made, and the future of this great nation.
This workshop calls on us to be progressive as we evaluate this programme, and together find solutions, as it is only through our combined efforts that we will create food security for, and a better life for all.