Limpopo Department of Agriculture 2011/12 budget speech by MEC Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba
24 Mar 2011Honourable Speaker
Honourable Premier Cassel Charlie Mathale
Members of the Legislature Members of the Executive Council Magoshi/Mahosi/Tihosi
Commercial and Emerging farmers staff of the department led by the Head of Departments (HOD) friends and colleagues
Many years ago a famous writer Alan Paton wrote a best seller novel and titled it, "Cry the beloved Country". The country at the time was bleeding; apartheid was at its height. There was no hope for the people of this country, black and white. A few years later before he passed on, he wrote another novel titled, "Ah but your land is beautiful". This is the land I am going to talk about this morning.
Despite the beauty of our land, agriculture operates in a volatile environment today. Food prices internationally have reached a record high last month and in South Africa we are being saved by the rand’s strength for now.
Dr Andre Jooste, Senior Manager of the Market and Economic Research Centre at the National Agricultural Marketing Council ( NAMAC), said the exchange rate’s volatility still played a key role for many of the raw commodity prices, since most markets are either trading at export parity commodities such as wheat and vegetable oils. One must therefore expect the local supply and demand dynamics to have a small influence on prices.
Even if the exchange rate gains lost ground within three months, higher crude oil and therefore fuel and energy prices will have to enter the food supply chains and consumers will likely have to dig deeper into their pockets.
Interacting with farmers recently, they often raised issues of high electricity and transport costs that makes agriculture unattractive. The National Agriculture Marketing Council confirmed last month that increases in the price of water, electricity, fuel, labour and road tolls over the past six years have raised the cost of doing business for farmers. This has made it hard for new entrants to join the sector.
It is therefore my fervent call on farmers to increase production by investing in capital expansion such as solar energy to reduce input costs. Such investments would allow farmers to take advantage on the low interest rates and a slight weakening rand.
In his state of the Province address our Premier reiterated strongly on where we come from and where we are going, and i quote:
“The struggle to liberate South Africa and Limpopo, in particular economically, will be no less bitter than the struggle we fought
to liberate our country for democracy. We can never claim to have freed and liberated our people as long as the majority of the people are still not yet liberated economically.
The struggle to liberate our people economically is not easy but we are sure that victory is certain.”
Our contribution as agriculture on jobs and food security is mainly done through and within a rural development framework.
We have already identified and focussed on high impact potential areas that we refer to as agricultural hubs. We have so far identified three agricultural hubs and shall drive the growth path along the hubs, during this financial year.
As part of our mandate to protect our limited high potential agricultural land, we have completed the Agricultural Ecological Zoning (AEZ) in all the 25 municipalities, and this would provide an atlas of pocket areas that must be safeguarded for agricultural production, and it would also be followed by a policy to give effect to these zones/ pockets of high potential that must be protected.
We have resolved to support the lower end of the sector where farmers are motivated to work, we want to support them to access inputs required to produce. We are revising our mechanisation programme. The new framework will, in addition to Credit access scheme of MERECAS (Mechanisation Revolving Credit Access Scheme), include mechanisation for Cooperatives and mechanisation voucher system for other farmers to rent traction services from tractor operators in their areas.
Our policy to develop and systematically revitalise all irrigation land in Limpopo as part of our rural infrastructure will encompass land in the hands of individual entrepreneurs, communally held land and the land reform projects.
We are revising the Rehabilitation of Small Holder Irrigation Scheme (RESIS) to include support for individual irrigation farmers as well as land reform beneficiaries under the programme of Irrigation for food and growth.
I am pleased to report progress that the department has made on the budget this respected house has voted.
We have thus far completed the organisational structure review to align it to the new mandate that includes the rural development coordination function. The rural development Strategy is at an advanced stage awaiting the approval of the Executive Council, for implementation. The Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) directorate that is required nationally to establish dedicated unit of monitoring and evaluation has also been incorporated.
We have permanently filled two hundred and ninety four funded (294) vacant posts and ninety four (94) of this number are newly created jobs, meaning that the unemployed were also considered. These ninety four funded new jobs were filled by people from designated groups, consisting of sixty women, ten People with disabilities and thirty four (34) African males.
The department has in line with the retention strategy also created seventeen posts to absorb student veterinarians.
To respond to one of my many facebook friends, the Department has, in addition to the eighty eight (88) existing bursaries to non employees, has awarded further fifty two (52) new bursaries targeting the matric class of 2010. Thirty one ( 31) of the total one hundred and forty (140) bursaries sponsored by my department have been allocated to veterinary health students.
We are currently processing applications for two hundred and fifteen (215) internships for graduates and diplomats below the age of 35 years.
Out of this number, Honourable Speaker, we are intending to absorb permanently a minimum of 10% of this total number of interns, as a contribution towards job creation for youth. Three bursary holders have completed Agricultural Engineering qualifications and will assume duty as full time employees of the department in April 2011.
Towards e- agriculture and information society
We are making inroads in the ICT world in order to improve communication with farmers and all those involved and interested in the agricultural sector in Limpopo, especially young farmers. We have introduced social networking accounts for the department through “Facebook and Twitter" therefore creating a platform for the citizens to come together to share information and ideas relating to the industry.
I am challenging the Youth to join our face book and twitter as regular users. One of the questions we received on our facebook page, called “Limpopo Farmers – the e-Agriculture Initiative”, last month from Mashaba Letsoalo was I quote “With regards to the current declining youth farmer participation, what is the LDA doing to improve the situation?”
To respond to Mashaba Letsoalo, we are enabling citizens to access information about agriculture in Limpopo and to be heard quicker at any given time and from anywhere, whether be it on their phone, which most people including those in the deep rural areas have, or on the internet. Information gets filtered right down to the most remote of areas. Young people are particularly thrilled about this.
In order to improve our Stakeholder relations, we have launched the farmer Hot Line cell sms number 32553. Farmers and citizens at large can also now communicate with the department through cell phone sms using this number. They can send through their queries, their comments and their complaints via this number, which are received by an operator who redirects the query to the relevant team, enabling the query to be responded to much quicker.
Our farmers should feel free to let us know those services and officers who give them joy, and those who do not. This is a first for the Province and we are proud about it.
More details about our Facebook page, twitter account and the Hot Line number, can be found on our website http://www.lda.gov.za or displays at all our offices in the province.
Sixteen irrigation projects, funded and implemented through the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) and the Revitalisation of Smallholder Irrigation Schemes (RESIS), have been completed and are operational. 10 more projects are at various stages and will be completed in first quarter of the next financial year.
We have also identified and targeted eight cooperatives within the three agricultural hubs for collaborative development of projects identified with a potential of nine hundred and one (901) jobs. There are two cooperatives in Nebo, two in Nandoni and four in the Lepelle Nkumpi. Some projects will produce grains and vegetables for the markets. Eight mechanisation units have been acquired for some of the cooperatives.
We are also glad to report that as part of our contribution to the R3 million for Greening initiative, 100 community based educators are now employed for monitoring and skills transfer, a nursery for indigenous and fruit trees has been established at Bernfarm Village in the Ba Phalaborwa Village where we hosted the 2010 Arbor Day.
Through the integrated poultry program, the Lebowakgomo abattoir as well as the breeding and hatchery facilities at Mashashane are being re-capitalised in line with the growing broiler industry in the province. This is the first unique model of its kind in the value chain process in the province.
In an effort to put back to optimal productivity the land that has been lying fallow and unproductive for over five years, the department has finalized plans for the rejuvenation and revitalization of the Makgoba Tea Estate. Working together with the Greater Tzaneen Municipality and Greater Tzaneen Economic Development Agency (GTEDA), the department has completed processes of consultation with key stakeholders in order to launch the largest ‘letjema’ ever – when close to a thousand workers will be cutting and trimming the tea bushes in an economic effort that will also restore the aesthetic beauty of the Makgoba valleys.
So far the consultation processes culminated in a very successful and well attended Imbizo for Makgoba community held during December 2010 during which the community pledged their support for the revitalisation project. 400 workers are on site as part of phase one of the revitalisation. This number will increase to near one thousand (1 000) in the next financial year. I also wish to salute all the stakeholders who are very committed to see the success of this project despite the challenges that remain.
The success of the integrated poultry program is made possible by a good relationship with the private sector, in particular, the investors such as Bushvalley Chickens and Mike’s Chicken who continue to provide secured markets, mentorship and production input support to the emerging farmers at a high risk. KPMG through its Enterprise Development Initiatives, is assisting farmers in developing their businesses within prescribed regulations e.g. registrations with South African Revenue Services (SARS), financial management, corporate governance, etc.
The agricultural sector continues to benefit from our strategic alliances with other sister departments and development institutions. Through joint funding with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and the DBSA, a thirty five million rand investment will be made on the properties restored to Moletele community in Maruleng Municipality. This development, scheduled to start during the second quarter of 2011 will create additional 295 jobs, 210 of which are seasonal as well as numerous small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) opportunities. The project will benefit 1 615 beneficiary households.
During the year a total of eight restitution projects have received funding for infrastructure development and farm machinery funded through the equitable share. These projects include Mokgolobotho, Selwane and Tshakhuma. The total expenditure amounts to R9 million . Intervention is being up-scaled for other high value restitution projects which are currently under-utilised mainly as a result of poor leadership, financial mismanagement and community conflicts.
These projects include Morebene, Makotopong, Marobala- O-Itsose, Makhutswe and Mamahlola. The department has seen a remarkable recovery of the Levubu farms, following the collapse of strategic partnerships with three companies over the past three years. Recovering from liquidation of the strategic partner, SAFM and the company being under judicial administration just over a year ago, Mauluma Farming Enterprises (owned by Ravele Community) has not only received an unqualified audit during the year ended February 2010 but has made a couple of millions in profit during the year ended February
This is the first of the four companies that were under strategic partnership with SAFM to receive unqualified financials since the companies were established in 2005. The community has shown great cooperation and took advantage of an Enterprise Development Initiative (EDI) programme introduced in partnership with KPMG which focused mainly on business management and corporate governance.
The ability to keep the land holding and business structures separate keeps conflict of interest at a minimum and leads to greater accountability. This is indeed a winning formula for restitution projects. The leadership of Ravele community, in particular the Chairperson of Ravele Communal Property Association, Mr Netshisaulu and the Chairperson of the Board of Mauluma Farming Enterprise, Mr David Nemauluma are applauded for giving us a model of a successful black owned enterprise within Levubu. The Ravele community is blessed to have you and the Chief must be proud of you.
The Extension Recovery Plan has been successfully implemented with 118 Extension Officers with specialised skills recruited and frontline staff empowered through information technology tools
The second MECs Extension Awards to deserving extension workers is a motivation to the officials and has so far enhanced service delivery in the province.
The Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) was piloted in Muyexe village in Giyani District. The successes and challenges from the pilot are documented, thus assisting in ensuring that future interventions are properly done.
Priority attention is being given to the development of a Preferred Development Model for Muyexe Village, impacting on improved quality of life, upgrading of basic infrastructure and provision of social support to the community through a team of specialists in the various fields. Anyone who visits Muyexe today will realise the difference and the impact this government has made on the lives of those people.
We have successfully brought the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Mopani under full control. The disease outbreak affected only two commercial farms and did not spread to the communal areas. The disease was restricted
to the FMD Control area through efforts of the Department of
Agriculture, South African Police Service (SAPS), Roads and Transport, Disaster Management and the Community. The unity in purpose displayed showed cooperative governance at its best and should be encouraged.
Focusing on broad-based agrarian transformation as well as the strategic investment in economic and social infrastructure
On the path to create jobs
- 1002 food security interventions targeted through following an integrated approach to identify and assist, households, with the assistance of the relevant municipalities.
- The Agricultural Training Centers also have offered short courses for both our emerging farmers and extension officers. 1 200 farmers were trained in production methods.
During the coming financial year the department with its programmes aims to create more than 10 000 job opportunities and Full Time Equivalents targeted which will enable us to benefit from the newly introduced Incentive Scheme of Phase two of the Expanded Public Works Programme. This Incentive Scheme is aimed at remunerating implementing bodies that surpass their set targets.
We expect to create
On irrigation for food and growth
- 2 000 jobs in the Makgoba tea project from the investment of Nine million rands revitalising tea.
- Retain the two thousand and five hundred (2 500) jobs in the Tshivhase Tea Estate. Twenty seven million rands (R27 million).
- 1 182 in the Landcare projects for R14,6 million.
- 1 053 jobs in the land reform, R34, 2 million.
- 574 jobs in the poultry projects, R25 million.
- 2 400 jobs in Irrigation projects with a budget of R75 million.
- 60 jobs in mechanisation with the budget of R10 million.
- 215 internship jobs for R9 million.
- 1 200 jobs in the other livestock and crop production projects R40 million.
We have also set aside an amount of R25 million to further develop at least 24 irrigation infrastructures on land reform projects that will contribute to approximately 300 jobs.
We have three hundred and seventy hectares in Strydkraal and Thabina communal schemes which are still under construction and will be completed in the next financial year. Three hundred and sixty hectares will be added in Hereford in Elias Motsoaledi, Matsika in Thulamela and Badfontein in Lepelle Nkumpi. Thirty four million rand has been allocated for the equipping these communal schemes R6 million rands has been set aside to do dam safety repairs and bulk water supply to the irrigation schemes.
The previous financial year was a challenging year for our irrigation schemes. Farmers suffered severe crop losses when their potato crops were damaged by the heavy frost that came unexpected. This financial blow to the farmers affected not only the income for the farmers, but also the seasonal jobs during harvesting. We have submitted their request for recovery support funds to the disaster fund.
Our heart goes out to the farmers of the Middle Letaba irrigation schemes in Giyani Municipality who still have a total water restriction despite the good rains that fell.
At the same time we have to appreciate the growth of Giyani town. The Department of Water Affairs is faced with difficult decisions to provide both the town and the farmers with adequate supply from a resource under stress. We encourage the department to continue to find some of the mitigation to this risk farmers are facing.
Work to revitalise Maraxwe irrigation scheme as well as the Tshiombo canal in Thulamela Municipality could not proceed due to social disagreements between the farmers. I must appreciate the efforts and support of the local councilor and Vho -Thovhela Tshivhase who have intervened to calm down the situation. Consultation with the farmers on the Tshiombo cluster is ongoing to resolve the issues for the benefit of themselves and the province. When they are ready we shall resume the infrastructure development.
We are conscious of the climate change and my department is implementing the uptake and adoption of Conservation Agriculture with a budget of R3 million which has yielded benefits of increased production and environmental management. 450 beneficiaries are participating in this programme.
The Green Economy Initiative that is spearheaded from the Office of the Premier has provided impetus for the upscaling of Greening Limpopo and Ecotechnologies Programme. We have set aside a budget of R3 million as part of our contribution to Greening Limpopo to plant fifteen thousand trees and strengthen two nurseries.
The department has budgeted five million rands for supporting farmers distressed by disasters. The department will also set aside two percent of its annual budget for 2011/12 FY to assist farmers affected by flood disaster. The assessment reports received from the recent flood disaster damage amounted to almost R60 million. The department will assist the flood affected farmers in line with the pronouncements made by the National Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
On zero tolerance towards hunger campaign, the department will work in collaboration with the Department of Health and Social Development as well as other Sector Departments, Private Sector and Civil Society organisations in the implementation of the Provincial Food Park. A total amount of seven million has been set aside to provide start up funding for the establishment of the Provincial Food Park.
On increasing production
Our government remains committed to support farmers for improved performance of the agricultural sector. This year R40 million was budgeted and about 600 farmers will be supported and will include grain production, horticulture and white meat enterprises.
As part of enhancement of the horticulture value chain, the department is to start with a project of improvement of yield and fruit quality through grafting of existing avocado and mango trees.
The project is to commence at Makhado Municipality this year with a budget of R5 million and will be expand to other parts of the province in subsequent years.
I am inviting Traditional Leaders, the municipalities and even the private sector to come on board as partners to ensure we make all available productive land used as part of our rural development plan. The Capricon district municipality has already made a commitment on this partnership for a better life.
In the words of our own Tata Madiba I quote “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. In this new century, many of the world's poorest countries remain imprisoned, enslaved and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man- made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”
The massification of the Limpopo IDC Nguni Cattle Development Programme will contribute to poverty reduction in the rural areas of our province and increase the contribution of agriculture to the provincial economy.
The success of our pilot project has attracted other main players in the beef production industry. Let me announce, Honourable Speaker that this morning we have in this house representatives from the Pick n Pay, Angus Beef South Africa, Beefcor and Agricultural Research Council (ARC). Angus Beef is the only branded beef in the country as we speak and is the beef of international quality.
Nguni has one of the best beef qualities in South Africa but has been unable to perform favorably under the feedlot conditions. A partnership has been entered into between the organisations mentioned above and the Limpopo IDC Nguni Cattle Development Trust in terms of which Nguni Cows will be crossed with Angus Bulls to produce Angus beef of a differentiated quality. We benefit in this case of the successful research outcomes done by ARC.
We have provided seed capital of R8.6 million this year to kick start the pilot Angus/Nguni beef production partnership. Twenty of the successful beneficiaries under the cattle development programme will receive later this year through
the bulls and additional heifers to bring their herds to 50 cows and two bulls (Nguni & Angus) level.
The resultant weaners will be procured by Beefcor who are
the approved feedlot for Pick n Pay. The meat will be distributed through Pick n Pay butcheries. Our strategy is an integrated one across the whole value chain. From the farm to the plate, we create opportunities for agro-entrepreneurial activity to intensify in this province.
On promotion of healthy livestock and safe meat products
The Department has budgeted R6,7 million for vaccination of 748 000 animals against controlled diseases and dipping of 2,2 million communal cattle. From the Conditional grants, R4,1 million will be utilised to construct 125 crush-pens for easy handling of animals. This is in recognition of the value of livestock in ensuring food security and sustenance of the rural economy.
On continuous improvement through research
There are collaborative efforts by our researchers with various research partners to help communities find technologies and appropriate methods to produce and process.
The farmers from the communities of Makonde and Ha-Budeli are continuing to process Marula fruits and other indigenous fruits into different products such as jelly and jam. Our farmers displayed these and other products at the 2010 IKS EXPO that was held at the International Convention Centre in Durban from the 26th to 30th of July 2010.
Madzivhandila and Tompi Seleka
The two Agricultural Training Centres (Tompi Seleka and Madzivhandila) remain critical for capacity building of our prospective and emerging farmers. The two Training Centres are currently offering learnership programs at NQF level 2 for both Animal Production and Plant Production. Nine hundred farmers will be provided with accredited training for land reform beneficiaries. An agreement was signed with
AgriSETA which is financing the whole learnership program at Madzivhandila.
We have launched a partnership through the Limpopo Agribusiness Development Academy (LADA) with the University of Stellenbosch, PWC and Flanders for the training of mentors to support land reform projects. Forty (40) mentor trainees have started with the training and are due to complete the training accredited under the University of Stellenbosch. Farmer mentors will be trained in this financial year. This will accelerate farmer development on a sustainable basis.
The department greatly appreciates continued commitment expressed by the donor through Flanders International Corporation Agency (FICA) from the partnership forged with the Flemish government.
Recognition and awards
Our department continues to win award from award on a yearly basis and in this financial year, we won:
We are a winning team, and I must thank the Head of Department, Professor Edward Nesamvuni and his team for their unrelenting dedicated efforts.
- Four PMR Africa Awards.
- At the national Kamoso Awards ceremony held on 07th March 2011 at the Silver Casino in Krugersdorp 2011; Limpopo Province was recognised again through the LandCare project in Mogalakwena which was awarded the overall Best Provincial Project.
- We have also gone a long way to implement the Promotion of Access to Information Act as prescribed by the Act. I am pleased to inform you that our Information Officer, Mr Netshifhire was recognised for this by receiving the Golden Key Award as being the best Deputy Information Officer in the country in the implementation of PAIA.
- We also came second in the category of Institutions as awarded by the South African Human Rights Commission and the Open Democracy Advice centre in September 2010.
- As usual at National Female Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, our women came back tops, with Mme Mathabathe of the miracle tree or Moringa coming tops. She is here in the gallery with us.
- At the Polokwane Show recently we also won the Platinum award for the best stall.
- Two days ago we also won a silver award for the best performing Department at Premier’s Excellence Awards ceremony.
I must also appreciate the different farmer groupings, from AGRI-Limpopo to NAFU and many others for their support and advice. The Commercial Farmers whom I met a few weeks ago and the emerging farmers that I visit from time to time help us with their inputs.
Honourable Speaker, the budget for the Department of Agriculture for the financial year 2011/12 is R1, 494 billion and has been divided amongst seven programmes as follows:-
Vote four: Agriculture 2011/12 budget per programme
Programme 1: Administration
Programme 2: Sustainable Resource Management
Programme 3:Farmer Support and Development
Programme 4: Veterinary Services
Programme 5: Technology Research and Development
Programme 6: Agricultural Economics
Programme 7: Structured Agricultural Training
Total payments and estimates
We can make a great team if we work together, and I am quite sure we are almost there. Our land is beautiful!
2011-12 Budget per Economic Classification: Vote 4: Agriculture
Economic Classification (R thousand)
Compensation of employees
Goods and services
Transfers and subsidies to:
Departmental agencies and accounts
Payments for capital assets
Buildings and other fixed structures
Machinery and equipment
Softwareand other intangible assets
Total economic classification:
Source: Limpopo Department of Agriculture
Issued by: Limpopo Agriculture
24 Mar 2011
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