Honourable Chairperson, As the IFP we acknowledge the Budget allocation of R2.197billion.
In view of the challenges such as drought, army worms and other natural disasters, we are of the view that this Department needs more financial resources to turn things around and fulfil its mandate. There is an urgent need for the department to attract qualified and even experienced personnel who will be able to maximise the agricultural potential of our province. KwaZulu-Natal has vast potential with regard to agriculture but without the right people this province will end up being a barren wasteland instead of being a bread basket for our country.
Honourable MEC, your budget should not be spent on food parcels, vegetable gardens and handing out seed packets and garden hoses only during elections and by-elections. You should be supporting individual entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector by helping them to succeed commercially by tapping in to modern trends. You should be advocating for conservation practices at every turn because our survival depends on it. You should embrace the commercial sector as your allies in providing a vital link with emerging farmers. Imiphakathi esezindaweni zasemakhaya njengaKwaVishavisha eMkhunya ngaphansi kukaMasipala uBuhlebezwe eXobho ingeminye enentshisekelo enkulu ekutheni ilime kodwa umnyango wakho uyandonda ukuhlinzeka lomphakathi ngezinsisa zokulima. Kepha ukuba bekunokhetho noma lokuchibiyela kulendawo ngabe Ngqongqoshe kushunqe izintuli zabheka phezulu, sabona ngamatende amhlophe anamabhodwe okhakhayini uyokhankasa ngezimbewu njengoba wenzile oPhongolo mumva nje. Kungani Mhlonishwa Mvelase utatazele kakhulu uma kunokhetho? Sesikubonile ukuthi usaqhuba lona usiko lweQembu lakho lokukhankasa ngezimbewu kubantu. eMkhunya nakwezinye izindawo balinde izimbewu uzihambisa nini khona?
We must overhaul farmer support programs by ensuring that the new and emerging farmers have adequate support to make a success of their enterprises. We need to identify people with an interest in farming, we need to train them and have proper mentorship programs with former land owners to ensure smooth skills transfer. There is a multitude of areas we should be focusing on to address the Sustainable Development Goals. However, one thing is certain, for anything to be successful the farmer must be at the centre. Small scale farmers must be evaluated and provided with the necessary support in order to ensure that their operations grow and that they are able to supply food to our country while at the same time creating more sustainable jobs.
Honourable Chairperson, the IFP is concerned about the issue of tractors that were purchased by this Department and given to certain communities. Those tractors were handed out amid much fanfare and publicity. We have submitted questions to the Hon MEC and Previous MEC’s last year but have not been any given any responses to date. Tax payers’ money was used to purchase those tractors and we would like to know who those tractors were given to, where are they now, are they still being used, who is paying for the maintenance and licensing and are those tractors benefitting the communities they were meant for. The MEC must answer these questions in the House because we must know if public money is again being wasted while communities suffer.
We note that there is budget available for the purchase of mechanisation equipment, tractors and other relevant equipment. This is a good sign only if those items are given to the right people to be used for their intended purpose.
Sincishelwani amehlo uma sibuza ngalobagandaganda ukuthi kumanje bakuphi ngoba kwasetshenziswa izimali zabakhokhi-ntela bethengwa. Ngesikhathi uMhlonishwa uMeshack Radebe esenguNgqongqoshe weZolimo kwakuguga ithayi lemoto etshakadula kuhle kwethole ezinkalweni nasemaqeleni ehambisa ogandaganda emiphakathini ukuze ilinyelwe kodwa kumanje asizwa lutho ngabo, uma sibuza uNgqongqoshe ushona ezintangeni. Phumela obala Qhudeni musa ukugiya ezihlabathini zeNcome!
Honourable Chairperson, Agriculture is not glamorous. It suffers from entrenched negative perceptions in the minds of many South African youth. If it were to get the same political support and financial investment as the mining sector, agriculture would be capable of providing more decent jobs and filling millions more stomachs with nutritious meals.
The point I am trying to underscore is that there is need for deliberate efforts to win over the hearts of these uncaptured highly productive group for better returns in agricultural development.
The question therefore is how do we win over the youth and garner their support to be involved in the sector where it is very apparent they are not drawn to. Is there a way through which we can actually captivate the interest of the youth to find this inevitably crucial sector appetizing? It is obvious that a mind-set change is required to necessitate this desired shift. There might be a need to repackage, reconstitute, and partially overhaul education systems at secondary school level. There is a need to challenge the prevalent thinking, knowledge; attitudes and practices related to agriculture in general if indeed such an endeavour is to pay off the anticipated dividends. Our youth need to see that in the agricultural sector they can find employment and be successful but this department needs to market itself and attract the youth.
Sihlalo, uma ngisekulo udaba lwentsha kukhona izinhlaka ezifana KZN Youth In Agriculture and Rural Development (KZN YARD) okuthiwa zimele abantu abasha kodwa umsebenzi wazo asiwuboni ukuthi zenzani futhi zimele baphi abantu abasha. Lenhlangano sizwa kuthiwa iholwa uMnu Noah Nyawo oyinhloko yenhlangano ebizwa ngokuthi Ikusasa Lethu Youth in Agriculture. Sikholwa ukuthi izicagogwana zezinhlangano ezifuze lena zenziwa ngenhloso yokuhlomulisa abathize ngezimali zabakhokhi-ntela. Kuyihlazo ukuthi abantu abasha ezindaweni zasemakhaya abazi lutho ngale-KZN YARD ukuthi yini umsebenzi wayo. Bengicela uNgqongqoshe ake asitshele ukuthi bangaki abantu abasha futhi bakuziphi izindawo asebehlomule ngokuba khona kwale-YARD?
Honourable Chairperson, the Inkatha Freedom Party calls on government to do more in empowering small scale farmers including chicken farmers after the South African government suspended imports of meat from establishments suspected to be involved in the Brazil meat scandal.
To prevent the influx of imported chicken products we believe now that it is high time for government to empower small scale chicken farmers so that this country will not have to depend on imported products. If we are serious about developing our economy and creating job opportunities, government needs to do more to support local producers. There are many people in rural areas who run chicken businesses and who have skills but they lack resources, knowledge about business trends and support. Therefore government must empower them by providing logistical support to grow their businesses so that they can increase production and create sustainable lobs. Significant investment is needed to establish strong institutions that can fight for the cause of emerging farmers.
The “Four Pillar” strategy of the department is a good approach on paper but we would like to see its implementation on the ground. The Land Reform Pillar is vital in providing assistance to those people who have newly acquired land and are in need of support to get their operations off the ground. Should the necessary support and encouragement not be provided by the department, these people will become disillusioned and will they abandon the land.
Agri-villages have a vital role to play in developing emerging farmers. This concept, if properly applied will be the spring-board for many emerging farmers who will go on to become commercial farmers.
Somlomo, iQembu leNkatha lilishayela ihlombe igxathu elithathwe umnyango ngokuthi usayinde isivumelwano phakathi kwawo kanye neChina njengoba ifuna kakhulu inyama ebomvu ikakhulukazi yezinkomo ezifuywa emakhaya. Kepha umbuzo esinawo ukuthi ngabe iziphi izinhlelo ezicacile ezizohlomulisa abafuyi bezinkomo basemakhaya? Malini ezotshalwa umnyango kokuhlelo? Loluhlelo luzoqala nini futhi bazovikeleka kanjani abafuyi bezinkomo ukuze bangaxhaphazeki? Siyafisa ukuthi loluhlelo lucace luthi bha ngoba lubonakala luzothuthukisa abantu bakithi kungagcini ngokusayindwa kwezivumelwano kodwa imiphumela ingabonakali.
Okwesibili uNgqongqoshe uye wamemezela ukuthi amakhosi azohlomula ngohlelo lwezinkomo zamaNguni kepha kuze kube manje lolohlelo alucaci ukuthi ngabe azokhethwa kanjani lawomakhosi. Okwesithathu, uNgqongqoshe uphinde wamemezela ukuthi kunoR23 million wokunxephezela abafelwa imfuyo kuhle uNgqongqoshe asitshele ukuthi malini esisebenzile kuloluhlelo futhi bangaki abalimi abahlomulile? Okwesine, uNgqongqoshe uphinde wamemezela ukuthi bazokwakha imitholampilo yemfuyo maduze kanye nohlelo lwezingcingo lapho umphakathi uzokwazi ukubika khona izinkinga kodwa namanje asizwa lutho ngalezinhlelo. Kungakuhle uNgqongqoshe aphinde acacise ngalezinhlelo. Ngaphezu kwalokho siyancoma nokho ukuthi uNgqongqoshe ulusukeme phezulu futhi udaba lokuhlukunyezwa kwabasebenzi basepulazini i-Normandien eNewcastle. Kepha sikhathazekile ngokwanda kwezigameko zokuhlukunyezwa kwabasebenzi emapulazini. Sinxusa uNgqongqoshe ukuthi akayisukumele lendaba kanjalo naleyo yokubulawa kwabalimi.
To bring dignity and order to the Department of Agriculture, we expect the MEC to be tough and bold on corruption without fear or favour. We call for a process similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to deal with corruption within the department.
I thank you