Fishing quotas to be reserved for small scale fishers
The Small-scale Fisheries Policy, approved by Cabinet last year, will be implemented during this financial year. The policy will see the adoption of a developmental approach and rights-based allocation system for small-scale fishers.
The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries intends to ring fence a certain percentage of fishing quotas for youth-owned companies. This was stated by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, while presenting her Budget Vote speech ysterday, 29 May.
Joemat-Pettersson said the quotas would be ring fenced within the spirit of the youth accord signed earlier this year. “The allocation of rights within the small-scale sector, together with the reallocation of long-term rights will contribute to the further transformation of the entire fisheries sector,” she said.
She said the department is presently supporting five fish farms and had helped to set up two smallholder aquaculture producer associations.
Agricultural sector, job creation…
Cabinet recently approved the National Aquaculture Policy Framework (NAPF) which provides a unified framework for the establishment and development of an industry that contributes towards sustainable job creation and increased investment, she said.
The agricultural sector created 54 000 new jobs between January and March 2013, an increase of 12.7% year-on-year, and the sector now employees 739 000 people – up from 656 000 last year.
Joemat-Pettersson said job growth was experienced in the provinces where the food security intervention was implemented such as Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
A Food Security and Nutrition Policy, which is aimed at ensuring food security and good nutrition at all levels of society, is presently before Cabinet for approval.
Revised sectoral determination
Joemat-Pettersson said the announcement of a revised sectoral determination of R105 per day minimum wage for the entire farming sector, following the outbreak of the farm worker strikes in De Doorns last year, represented a major improvement in the employment conditions of farm workers.
“While there is still much work to be done in resolving the pre-and post-strike issues, the Unity in Action precipitated by conflict, augers well for charting a new path for the entire sector,” she said.
She pointed out that through a dialogue facilitated by The Presidency, the government is looking at the impact of the revised sectoral determination for both farmers and farm workers and at ways and means to offset this impact.
Agricultural production plan
In other news, the Minister revealed that in the last financial year the department, together with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, implemented an accelerated integrated agricultural production programme in seven provinces.
Joemat-Pettersson said the initiative helped place more than 35 000 additional hectares under production.
An amount of R109 million has been allocated towards the LandCare Programme which will contribute to 30 000 hectares of degraded land to be rehabilitated.
Through leasing of state land farms, 60 farms have already been secured, she said.
The department has also supported small forestry growers and communities in the Eastern Cape with environmental impact assessment.
“The results of this assessment will lead to the issuing of afforestation licences,” Joemat-Pettersson said, adding that the area under consideration is about 13 000 hectares.
She said the department wants to turn colleges of agriculture into centres of excellence and would soon sign a protocol with the Department of Higher Education and Training on issues relating to colleges of agriculture.
SA improves market access internationally
On the back of South Africa’s membership of Brics’s Ministers of Agriculture and Agrarian Development Mechanism, the department recently opened offices in India and Russia and would open a new office soon in Brazil.
Joemat-Pettersson pointed out that Asia’s changing consumption patterns, population growth, structural reforms and improved market access have contributed to an increase in exports from South Africa to the Asian countries.
China is one of the largest export destinations for South Africa’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries products, followed by Indonesia, Japan and India.
However, Joemat-Pettersson said South African exporter experienced a number of problems due to non-tariff barriers put into place by some countries in Asia.
News source: – SAnews.gov.za
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