WESTERN CAPE AGRICULTURE TABLES A BUDGET OF R969.2 MILLION FOR 22/23Ukuyila
On the 30th of March 2022, the Minister of Agriculture in the Western Cape, Dr Ivan Meyer, tabled his budget of R969.2 million for 2022/23. In his speech, Minister Meyer confirmed that the Western Cape will not be returning to our pre-COVID days and that we will continue to lead the economic recovery of the Western Cape, create jobs and push forward.
The budget of R969. 218 million for 2022/2023 includes earmarked allocations for:
- Ecological Infrastructure – R37 million
- River Protection Works (Keurbooms River, Jan du Toit River, Upper Hex River) – R18.5 million and
- Provincial Disaster Relief Grant (Provision and distribution of livestock feed) – R48.1 million.
In support of the Western Cape Government’s strategic focus on jobs, safety and wellness and dignity, Minister Meyer made the following key announcements:
- The Department is in the process of developing a Western Cape African Agricultural Strategy. This Strategy will guide the approach to the African Market anchored by the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.
- The Provincial Veterinary Laboratory is to be upgraded. Doing so will strengthen support for our clients and improve market access.
- The Department will extend its MoA with commodity organisations. This will bolster the Department’s commodity approach strategy for farmer development in the Western Cape.
- The Western Cape Cannabis Plan (CanPlan) will be finalised in 2022, and will provide focus interventions and support to cannabis producers in the Western Cape.
- Alien clearing – 20 000 ha will be cleared, leading to the creation of 800 green jobs.
- The Department will host the Youth and Young Research Climate Change and Agriculture Convention in June 2022 as well as a multi-stakeholder drought and disaster dialogue in October 2022.
- Further rollouts of substance abuse awareness and prevention sessions focussing on agri-worker labour rights and rural youth will take place in 2022.
The following budget allocations back the above key announcements:
- 4 million provides agricultural engineering support, promotes sustainable use and management, and reduces agricultural disaster risks. A further R37 million is earmarked for river protection works at the Keurbooms, Jan Du Toit and Upper Hex Rivers. R48,1 million in fodder support will also be available.
- 7 million is allocated to producer support services, extension advisory and services, food security and Casidra SOC Ltd. The goal is to improve efficiency through diversification, partnerships and more effective production systems, ultimately leading to an increase in the standard of living. A further R10.2 million is set aside for agri-worker development and the further rollout of substance abuse awareness and prevention sessions focussing on agri-worker labour rights and rural youth.
- 3 million is set aside to provide animal health services, veterinary international trade facilitation and veterinary diagnostic services. As a result, the Provincial Veterinary Laboratory will be upgraded. Doing so will strengthen support for our clients and improve market access, grow the economy and create jobs.
- R41 million is earmarked for production economics and marketing support to agri-businesses. The aim is to increase the number of well-trained and equipped commercial and smallholder farmers through strengthening partnerships with the private sector to unlock market access and create value-adding opportunities.
- 6 million is set aside to conduct agricultural research and technology development, and increase farmers’ mitigation and adaptation options against climate change.
- 6 million is set aside for agricultural skills development and higher education and training to develop the requisite skills, knowledge and experience to secure the future of agriculture.
- Agriculture, which expanded by 8.3%, was the second-fastest growing sector behind mining (11.8%) in 2021.
As highlighted by the Bureau for Agricultural Policy (BFAP), this growth in agriculture is more impressive because it follows a 13.4% expansion in 2020, making agriculture the most robust performing sector in South Africa since COVID-19.
“I do not doubt that Agriculture will be pushing forward with this budget to create wealth and ensure food security in the Western Cape”, Minister Meyer concluded.