Welcome remarks delivered by Dr Motseki Hlatshwayo on behalf of the Director-General of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Mr Langa Zita, at the stakeholder consultation meeting of the NEPAD programme in support of the FAO strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa, Indaba Hotel and Conference Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa
12 May 2011
The FAO Representative in South Africa, Madam Rosebud Kurwijila
The Representative of the NEPAD Agency, Dr Tobias Takavarasha
Representatives of Donor agencies
Ladies and gentlemen
Greetings to all of you gathered here this morning in this vibrant city of Johannesburg!
We are honoured as South Africa to be hosting this very important, and the first ever stakeholder consultation meeting under the auspices of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
I have no doubt that at the end of the event’s discussions and deliberations – armed with the calibre of academics, researchers, policy makers and other individuals representing stakeholders as broad as regional fisheries organisations, regional fisheries bodies, regional economic commissions, donor organisations, governments non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society - we will adopt concrete resolutions that will address the new challenges and new opportunities facing African Fisheries and Aquaculture in the 21st Century.
This meeting follows up the all-important first conference of African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture (CAMFA) which was held last year in Gambia, where the Ministers noted the seriousness that member states are affording to Fisheries and Aquaculture and satisfactory progress in implementing the Abuja summit recommendations. South Africa noted the recommendations of the Conference of African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture (CAMFA) and supports them. We are working towards addressing some of these issues.
Our country is faced with key challenges of unemployment, economic growth, food insecurity and poverty. The government has heeded the call and is paying particular attention to these challenges, hence a special Cabinet meeting was convened late last year to discuss the key economic challenges facing the country and a New Growth Path (NGP) framework that intends to place employment at the centre of government’s economic policy was endorsed.
The NGP framework and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP) are the two economic development policies which have identified agriculture as one of the sectors to bring about growth, especially fisheries and aquaculture. Hence, President Jacob Zuma found it fitting to bring fisheries and aquaculture under one roof, with agriculture and forestry.
To this end the department has finalised the small-scale fisheries policy and the national aquaculture strategic framework, which are both aimed at wealth creation and focusing on increasing productivity, profitability and sustainability in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. We are on course in introducing Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) and Aquaculture (EAA) in our sub-sectors. We are also beefing up our capacity in combating Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing. Government is also putting up resources in the form of funding and incentives, especially in aquaculture, to ensure there is reasonable public investment in the sub-sector that could leverage and attract private investments.
Using resources efficiently and adapting to the effects of climatic and other shocks will be the hallmarks of smart Fisheries and Aquaculture in the coming decades.
During last week’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) workshop, the African Ministers of Agriculture have agreed to meet soon to chart ways of putting agriculture on the COP 17 agenda which is taking placing in South Africa later this year, and our Minister assured us that the Fisheries and Aquaculture issues will also be onboard.
In closing, we will like to assure this meeting that South Africa is willing to work with all regional stakeholders in realising the objectives of the programme as it will be adopted, and will support and collaborate in the regional initiatives where possible.
We also wish to inform you that we have already initiated a regional capacity building programme for this year with the help of the International Animal Health Organisation, where Rhodes University in Grahamstown will be hosting a training session on Aquatic Animal Diseases Diagnostics and Management to capacitate Aquatic Animal Health National Focal Points/State Veterinarians within the region.
We have already signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the World Fish Centre (WFC) in Malawi for collaboration in Aquaculture Research and Capacity Building; and we will continue to play an important role in the regional fisheries structures and work closely with our regional partners in realising the objectives and outcomes set.
Finally I am proud to announce that since the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) endorsed South Africa as the host of the 6th Session of its Sub-committee on Aquaculture, Cabinet of the Republic of South Africa has approved hosting of this event in Cape Town from 2 to 6 April 2012. I wish to invite all regional stakeholders to participate in this important event that will be held for the first time on the African continent, as NEPAD, who is a partner in this, will be hosting several side events. We are grateful of the opportunity given to us by the FAO.
I wish you a successful discussion and a blessed stay in Johannesburg!
I thank you.
Source: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
Issued by: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
12 May 2011
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