Didiza office releases new performance plan

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The South African National Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development has just released its performance plan for the coming financial year. Access to land, integrated rural development, sustainable agriculture and food security for all dominate the agenda.

The annual performance plan, released late last night (Tuesday, April 5, 2022), is seen as a clear and practical implementation plan that outlines what the ministry will undertake over the next year.

The ministry says this is part of the government’s quest to improve rural infrastructure, boost competitiveness, radically change spatial patterns and build a resilient, united and transformed agricultural sector.

Better access to land

According to the Minister of Agriculture Thoko Didiza, access to land will be a priority. Indeed, land is an economic asset and its ownership, especially by women, youth and people with disabilities, will unlock the potential of a dynamic, growing and job-creating agricultural sector.

“By linking administration and support to this noble intention, the Land and Agrarian Reform Agency will institute frameworks and ensure that there is integrated development to ensure that access to land generates greater economic returns. wide,” she said.

However, comprehensive support interventions for farmers are needed to bring the land into production, she adds.

These support interventions will include “strengthening extension and advisory services to farmers, expanding access to start-up capital and blended finance, improving the provision of non-farm agricultural infrastructure and the penetration of traditional markets.

The Minister also sees rural infrastructure as a key to competitiveness as it is essential in linking food supply to the growing urban hubs of the country. “The focus is therefore on building, operating and maintaining quality infrastructure in rural areas to ensure the security and quality of food, feed and fiber supplies.”

22 policy developments and revisions

According to Mooketsa Ramasodi, chief executive of the department, the performance plan comes as South Africa emerges from, in many ways, the worst pandemic humanity has ever faced in modern history.

He explains that the department will work on 22 policy frameworks, spread across the three functional areas of agriculture, land reform and rural development.

The new Director General of the Department of Agriculture, Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, Mooketsa Ramasodi. Photo: Supplied/Food for Mzansi

The department will also prioritize the development of the Cannabis Master Plan, as well as the implementation of other master plans in partnership with national government counterparts.

But the main focus remains the agriculture and agribusiness master plan, which Ramasodi said will be launched in the first half of the year. “[The department] organize policy discussions with relevant stakeholders and social partners at national level to ensure the successful implementation of [our master plan] at the provincial and municipal levels.

Production compliance with food safety and biosafety regulations will also be a priority.

Another area of ​​intervention will be to redesign “a coherent delivery mechanism for the ministry, taking into account the capacity of provincial shared service centers and provincial ministries of agriculture”.

Integrating Black Farmers

Through restitution, the department aims to settle a total of nearly 720 land claims, while hoping to increase the hectares made available to farmers, and hopes to expedite outstanding labor tenant cases with the Master special for labor tenants.

Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha says land is a lucrative financial asset that does not depreciate, is in high demand and in limited supply. It therefore ensures long-term livelihoods.

According to Skwatsha, land reform programs will be accelerated in the 2022-2023 fiscal year with the following interventions:

  • The Land Redistribution Policy and Bill and the Communal Land Tenure Policy and Bill will be addressed to accelerate a change in land ownership patterns.
  • Restitution, which currently has 7,069 former arrears, will receive more attention and a total of 372 land claims are prioritized for finalization.
  • The revised Expropriation Bill, which specifies five types of land that can be expropriated upon payment of fair but non-market-related compensation,
    will be forwarded to Parliament, along with public contributions.
  • A land and agricultural agency will be created for focused, efficient, effective and results-oriented management of the land reform program.

“These interventions, which build on the progress already made, aim to integrate previously dispossessed Africans into self-reliant economic activity and ultimately transition them into the more lucrative mainstream economy.”

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