Categories: South Africa

‘Jackals, hyenas’ will prey on R2 billion agri-parks fund – Afasa

Government’s urgency to implement agri-parks across the country will make the process very vulnerable to corruption and abuse by contactors, said the African Farmers’ Association of South Africa (Afasa).

Judging from past experience, it was very sceptical about the ability of the rural development and land reform, and the agriculture departments’ ability to successfully roll-out the plan for agri-parks.

Rural development minister Gugile Nkwinti said in his budget speech in parliament in May that government has set aside R2 billion in this financial year for the implementation of agri-parks in all 44 district municipalities, with priority to be given to the 27 poorest ones.

These agri-parks, Nkwinti said, would focus on the generation and stimulation of both subsistence and commercial enterprises.

Aims of the plan included “rekindling the class of black commercial farmers destroyed by the 1913 Natives’ Land Act” and to ensuring all land reform farms, including communal land, were 100% productive, said Nkwinti.

The first two agri-parks were to be established in Springbokpan in the Ngaka Modiri Molema District, North West, and Ncorha in the Chris Hani District, Eastern Cape, he said.

Speaking to Farmer’s Weekly earlier this year agriculture minister Senzeni Zokwana said the parks would serve as a kind of trading hub for farmers.

Aggrey Mahanjana, secretary general of Afasa said the plan would be doomed like so many other agricultural support programmes if government was not also prepared to invest in the necessary infrastructure on which the success of the agri-parks concept would depend.

“We have seen how government implements projects and if they are really planning to implement agri-parks in 27 or 44 municipalities in this financial year it will be a disaster,” said Mahanjana.

“The jackals and hyenas are waiting for that R2 billion to be made available,” he said.

Government should instead start by implementing one agri-park in each province and, if this proved successful, escalate implementation, said Mahanjana.

Afasa was also concerned about the lack of focus given in the plan to support smallholder farmers who service the markets that would be created through the agri-parks.

Published by
Caxton Magazines

Recent Posts

  • By Invitation
  • Featured Home Image

Grain hedging: lessons from the farmers who get it right

Since South African agriculture converted from control boards to the free market system in the 1990s, farmers have had to…

3 hours ago
  • South Africa

New African swine fever outbreak in Gauteng

Gauteng’s Department of Economic Development, Agriculture and Environment is scrambling to contain yet another outbreak of African swine fever (ASF).

5 hours ago
  • Empowerment
  • Featured Home Image

Joburg chef partners with local farmers

Jack Coetzee, chef of Johannesburg-based Urbanologi restaurant and a believer in sustainable living, sources all his ingredients from within a…

1 day ago
  • Caxton
  • South Africa
  • Use only text

Empowering small-scale women farmers in SA

The Women Farmers Programme, piloted in 2018 by the Vodacom Foundation in partnership with UN Women and South African Women…

1 day ago
  • Caxton
  • Use only text
  • World

No-deal Brexit could cost UK agri sector around R15,7 billion a year

In the event of a ‘no-deal Brexit’, UK farmers will struggle to survive unless they receive a significant increase in…

1 day ago
  • Caxton
  • South Africa
  • Use all images and text

Farmer’s Weekly remembers former editor Alita van der Walt

The agricultural journalism and farming communities are mourning the loss of Alita van der Walt, former editor of Farmer’s Weekly,…

2 days ago