Afasa gives the national budget the thumbs-up

The African Farmers Association of South Africa (Afasa) has given Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan’s national budget a thumbs-up and welcomed his commitment to support smallholder farmers.

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In presenting the budget, Gordhan said government was developing a policy action plan to support land reform and the National Development Plan’s target of creating one million jobs in agriculture by 2030.

Gordhan said more than R7 billion would be spent on conditional grants to provinces to support about 435 000 subsistence and 54 500 smallholder farmers and to improve extension services.

“To boost domestic food production and reduce reliance on imports, the Fetsa Tlala initiative aims to bring an additional one million hectares into cultivation by 2019, creating 300 000 jobs,” added Gordhan.

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Afasa secretary general Aggrey Mahanjana said these commitments gave hope to smallholder farmers, especially the emphasis on utilising Fetsa Tlala as a vehicle for job creation.

“We only hope that this commitment from Treasury will be met with the same enthusiasm from those responsible for implementation of this important programme. It is imperative that this programme is properly planned for, and implemented on time, to avoid last year’s disappointment where planting was done very late.”

Mahanjana added that the involvement of farmer organisations in the planning and implementation process of Fetsa Tlala, would ensure the programme becomes a success.

Click on the link to read the full Budget Speech.