Implementation of government’s agriculture and agroprocessing value-chain policy revitalisation programme has started, with 27 proposals received from commercial farmers for land reform allocation, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana said in a Parliamentary reply.
In a reply to a question posed by African National Congress MP Humphrey Maxegwana, Zokwana added that four farms had now been approved, while four had already been transferred and allocated to farm workers.
Meanwhile, the Minister pointed out that his department, together with the departments of Small Business Development, Trade and Industry and Science and Technology had introduced the South African Good Agricultural Practices certification programme to smallholder farmers as part of a market readiness initiative.
“This involves farmer training, auditing of the farms and accreditation,” Zokwana said.
Producer support programmes had also been implemented, including livestock improvement schemes and the Compulsory Community Service for Vets, while international and regional agreements were also being negotiated.
To date, 123 veterinarians have been deployed in all provinces, with primary animal healthcare clinics procured.
Further, Zokwana said government would now focus on accelerating its graduate programme to place more agricultural graduates on the farms to become operators. Thus far, 225 graduates had been recruited and deployed to 120 farms to work and operate, and many jobs had been created.
He added that 13 912 farmers had, since inception, received support from the departments of Rural Development and Land Reform and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, while 19 276 farmers were trained in agricultural, forestry and fisheries practices.