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Marketing of Agricultural Products Bill on Track

November 26, 2020

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

The Draft Marketing of Agricultural Products Amendment Bill has been reprioritised for 2020/21.

The former agriculture, forestry and fisheries department confirmed this in a briefing in parliament on its 2019/20 annual report achievements and challenges.

The department also pointed out that the Draft Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Bill was discussed at NEDLAC and is undergoing consultations with other government structures.

The plan is to present the draft bill to the director general cluster for consideration and recommendations prior to submission to the agriculture, land reform and rural development minister to follow the cabinet process.

The department also announced that further engagements with industry will take place before the Draft Aquaculture Development Bill is re-introduced to parliament.

A bill was tabled in parliament in 2018 but lapsed at the end of the 5th parliament.

It was revived by the national assembly in March 2020 but was subsequently withdrawn.

The department also highlighted that a Brucellosis Policy to support the implementation of the Veterinary Strategy has been developed; the National Survey on Food and Nutrition Security was not conducted due to late movement of funds and the National Policy on Comprehensive Producer Development Support was tabled in cabinet on 4 March 2020.

The Draft National Policy on Comprehensive Producer Development Support was published for comment in 2018.

The draft policy will serve as the overall national policy for the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector in South Africa that will regulate and guide interventions provided by government to the various categories of producers.

The draft policy will also guide other stakeholders such as the private sector, civil society organisations and development partners in producer support.

Some of the specific objectives of the draft policy include defining categories of producers in South Africa, facilitating development of appropriate support services, establishing a comprehensive register of producers, supporting environmentally friendly production practices and putting suitable disaster risk management measures in place.

Some of the issues covered in the draft policy include guiding principles and conditions for producer support, linkages to other policies, categories of producers and their support requirements, policy intervention measures, implementation plan, roles and responsibilities and risk mitigation and management.

Meanwhile, in response to the briefing, the portfolio committee on agriculture, land reform and rural development called on the department to report on the failure of the Land Bank to provide financial support to small-scale farmers.

The committee chairperson, Inkosi Zwelivelile Mandela, also queried whether the Land Bank has fully utilised the funds allocated to it and called for the department to “work as one department to further the cause of small scale farmers”.

The committee plans to request the agriculture, land reform and rural development minister, Thoko Didiza, to attend the next meeting.