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Post-Settlement Support for Farmers Under the Spotlight

September 5, 2019

Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

5 September 2019

The portfolio committee on agriculture, land reform and rural development has called for a review of inter-departmental coordination on post-settlement support for farmers.

The committee made the call following an oversight visit to KwaZulu-Natal last week.

In a statement, the department listed a number of observations it had made during the oversight visit.

These include that post settlement support to farmers is generally characterised by poor levels of interdepartmental coordination and support, poor monitoring and evaluation of support programmes, inability of farmers to access post-settlement support due to the need for business plans, disconnect between the skills and training provided and the needs of the beneficiary farmers and difficulty accessing markets.

The department also emphasized that the lack of accountability by farmers/trusts/government for drought relief funds received in the 2015/16 financial year required urgent attention by the minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza.

Other issues that the committee would like reviewed include:

• Enhanced capacity to provide holistic and integrated support to farmers.
• Provide greater capacity to ensure improved financial management across all programmes.
• Improved access to available funding to ensure more successful government interventions.
• A greater focus on matching in respect of mentoring and partnerships.
• A review of the skills and training paradigm to align with needs of farmers.
• The need for greater monitoring and evaluation capacity of the department so that meaningful measures of success are implemented across post-settlement support programmes.
• Setting up a database of beneficiaries of post-settlement support so that progress may be tracked and the efficacy of interventions may be assessed in a more structured way.