25 February 2020
Agri Western Cape understands that the demands placed on Minister Tito Mboweni and his Department from all sides are big, but for the sake of a sustainable agricultural sector, Agri Western Cape would like to hear Minister Tito Mboweni address the following issues in his budget speech this week:
- In his recent State of the Nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa referred to the negative impact of the drought. What amount will be made available for drought relief? More funding should also be made available for research on alternative crops, strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change and to include producers of long-term crops, ostriches, dairies and wildlife in drought relief.
- Funding for the expansion of water storage capacity, with a timeline attached to it, to show the government’s commitment to a solution to the country’s water crisis. What is the situation with the Clanwilliam Dam?
- More support for agricultural colleges and institutions involved with skills training relevant to agriculture for sustainable knowledge and expertise in the sector.
- The cost of electricity has risen by more than inflation over the past decade and consumers can no longer carry the costs of mismanagement and corruption at Eskom. A detailed plan for Eskom, and the incorporation of alternative energy generators, are needed.
- What is the budget for land reform, the provision for post-settling support to beneficiaries, and for training potential beneficiaries as referred to by President Ramaphosa in his recent State of the Nation address? Agricultural extension services must also be urgently upgraded.
- What will be allocated for rural security. The SAPS must be strengthened to prevent and deal with road closures and damage to infrastructure during protest action that cripples the economy.
- Maintaining and upgrading infrastructure such as roads in rural areas should be prioritized. This also includes the upgrade of ports to handle more loads and to function efficiently again.
- Vinpro, on behalf of the wine industry, calls on government for a relief on excise duties, as well as support on various aspects influencing the wine industry. This includes opening up markets through preferential trade agreements, infrastructure development, rural safety and responsible policy formulation regarding land reform. Although there is great progress in the wine industry with transformation and socio-economic development programmes, partnerships and funding is needed to expand on this. The sustainability of producers in drought-stricken areas also pose a threat to the industry, and assistance is required with this as well.
Minister Mboweni now has the opportunity to show his department understands the critical role of the agricultural sector in the economy. The support that agriculture will receive in the budget will indicate whether his department is committed to supporting the agriculture sector for the sake of food security, economic growth and investment.