Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
The agriculture, land reform and rural development department, in conjunction with security and social clusters, is developing a regulatory framework to enable commercial cultivation of hemp and cannabis.
The agriculture, land reform and rural development minister, Thoko Didiza, confirmed this in a media briefing on economic recovery and employment stimulus packages.
The minister was outlining how the agriculture sector aims to contribute to economic recovery and employment.
Other steps to create a supporting policy environment include the development of a beneficiary selection and land allocation policy as well as the comprehensive producer support policy designed to guide the rapid release of land for production of food and the provision of finances to farmers and a review of the Marketing of Agricultural Products Act and a multitude of trade instruments to promote exports and safeguard domestic production and processing capacity.
The minister also pointed out that the range of measures contained in the “agriculture and agro-processing master plan will create 317 000 new jobs where majority of these jobs will be created by the private sector players in fruits, nuts, wine, vegetables and agro-processing node of food value chains”.
The minister indicated that expanding production and promoting exports will generate R80 billion in “gross production value relative to the baseline” that will help the economy recover from the pandemic.
As part of employment stimulus measures, the department will provide input vouchers to subsistence farmers in order to retain jobs.
“The target will be those subsistence producers who are producing at household level in peri-urban and rural areas with a maximum land size between ¼ ha to 1 ha.”
Work is also underway with the Solidarity Fund and Traditional Councils on interventions that focus on communal farming areas to support small-scale and subsistence farmers to promote self-employment and support food security.
The department has also, in partnership with the Land Bank, kick-started relief funding applications for commercial farmers that are in distress to save jobs and provide relief to affected farmers by the pandemic.