Begrotingsposdebat: Landbou

2013-05-29
Dr Pieter Mulder

Honourable Chairperson,

Honourable Minister,

Honourable Members,

Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Voorsitter, die landbousektor is ‘n primêre sektor van belang vir die ekonomie en het die potensiaal om nog meer werksgeleenthede te skep en sodoende landelike ontwikkeling te bevorder. Dit is egter ‘n sektor wat blootgestel is aan ‘n wye reeks risiko’s en uitdagings.

Wat is die grootste probleem wat landbouers tans in Suid-Afrika ervaar?

Die grootste probleem is onsekerheid. Onsekerheid oor hulle grond in die lig van verwarrende uitsprake; onsekerheid oor die styging van administratiewe pryse waaroor hulle geen beheer het nie (dit is koste van water, elektrisiteit, brandstof en onlangs ook lone.

These increases pose huge threats to the sustainability of the sector.  To thus protect farmers, farms, farm workers and ultimately food security, critical interventions by government via direct and indirect support mechanisms are needed. 

Furthermore, the diverse South African sector, more than ever, requires a committed partnership between the private and all the public sector organs. The support of the State Owned Entities (SOEs) in the sector is a partnership that has evolved over decades.

Extensive empirical evidence demonstrates that agricultural research and development investments have greatly contributed to economic growth, agricultural development and poverty alleviation in developing regions over the past five decades.

Effectively disseminated new technologies and crop varieties resulting from research and development investments have enhanced the quantity and quality of agricultural produce, at the same time increasing sustainability, reducing consumer food prices and providing producers with access to markets.

Given the important challenges, such as population growth, climate change, increasing weather variability, water scarcity, and the volatility of food prices, we must recognize the value of greater investment in agricultural research and development as an essential element in increasing agricultural productivity.

Daarom mag die rol van die Landbou Navorsingsraad (LNR) nooit onderskat word nie.

Voorsitter, die kern mandaat van die LNR is om landbou se bydrae tot beter lewenskwaliteit te bevorder en om effektiewe natuurlike hulpbronbestuur te verseker.

To date, the ARC has successfully implemented the Animal Improvement Scheme that is aimed at improving the performance, competitiveness and efficiencies of smallholder farmers through the application of practical scientific approaches to breeding and management of livestock. Through this scheme we have seen an increase in the number of smallholder farmers participating from a mere 920 a year ago, to 4075 livestock producers by the end of March 2013. During the 2013/14 financial year, the ARC will increase the number of farmers participating in the scheme by an additional 2000; and this will include collaboration with other organizations such as the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Independent Development Trust (IDT). The ARC will also continue providing services such as Artificial Insemination and Embryo Transfer to smallholder farmers.

The ARC renders innovative and smart solutions, which help farmers eliminate pests and eradicate diseases such as foot and mouth and rabies. Vaccines are a highly specialised animal health area. With it, the ARC conducts clinical trials ensuring the efficacy and effectiveness of such remedies for the livestock sector.

 The 2013/14 financial year marks the beginning of a new era for Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP). The much needed capital injection of R 492 million over the MTEF period from the National Treasury will be utilised to refurbish the aging plant, purchasing of new equipment and building a GMP facility which will place OBP into a new trajectory.

The quality of OBP vaccines is a critical issue. The quality control system has been accredited and this must ensure that no substandard batch of vaccines leave the plant. OBP has also received research funding of R 39 million from the Technology Innovation Agency.

We are satisfied that OBP’s strategic goals are crafted in response to government’s priorities.

Chairperson, South Africa is currently a net exporter of agricultural, forestry and fisheries products.  These sectors’ exports contribute R61.7 billion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with a R6.5 billion in positive trade balance. 

It is however noteworthy that South Africa’s agricultural exports decreased by 5% between 2011 and 2012.  We need to acquire a positive investment climate and a high level of business confidence in order to enhance and maintain our competitiveness. Political stability and sound decision making is key with regards to the attribution of a positive climate and enhancing the level of trade and investment confidence.

The goal of creating a million jobs by 2030, according to the National Development Plan, is only possible through export growth, and export growth is only possible through investments in the growing export sectors.  Our Department has been successful in establishing good trade relationships with new markets and will continue with this initiative during the next financial year.

The Department and the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) are working closely to assist South Africans – within the ambit of the laws – to export their products successfully in a highly competitive global arena.

As a result of some sacrifices and creative thinking, the PPECB has gone from a R16 million loss to a financial break-even situation in one year.

The PPECB has revised the 1983 PPEC Act. This was an intensive exercise that involved consultations with many people. It is hoped that, once the new Act is promulgated, it will enable the PPECB to modernize its business offerings to the public. It should certainly put the PPECB’s business model on a more sustainable footing.

The National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) continues to successfully implement development schemes in vine grapes, maize, sunflower and livestock. The objective of these schemes is to secure markets, which is of critical importance for the development of emerging farmers.

Chairperson, we cannot have farmers who are left in the emerging phase forever. These farmers should be enabled to successfully develop into commercial producers.  It is however important that there will at such a stage still be a commercial sector subsisting for these farmers to join.

Voorsitter, Verstaan ons werklik wat dit beteken om voedselsekerheid in die toekoms vir ’n wêreldbevolking van 9 miljard en ‘n Suid-Afrikaanse bevolking van 60 tot 70 miljoen te probeer verseker? In Suid-Afrika se geval kan 70% van sy inwoners reeds oor 20 jaar in die stede woon.

Notwithstanding a concerted global effort, after the 1996 World Food Summit, global food insecurity increased from 800 million people during 1996 to 925 million people in 2011, with 235 million living in Sub-Sahara Africa. It is estimated that the increase in the world population, from the current 7 billion to 8.2 billion by 2030, will require an additional 120 million hectares for crop production. Furthermore, by 2050 the estimated global population of 9 billion will require an increase in agricultural production to the extent of an additional 1 billion tons of cereals and 200 million tons of livestock products per annum.

Die feite is verder dat meeste van die bewerkbare landbougrond op hierdie planeet van ons reeds beplant en vir landbou gebruik word – dit terwyl 10 miljoen hektaar vrugbare en bewerkbare grond jaarliks verlore gaan deur verstedeliking en permanente droogtes.

In Suid-Afrika is reeds goeie landbougrond so groot soos die Krugerwildtuin permanent vir landbou verlore as gevolg van Mynbou-aktiwiteite en verstedeliking.

In Suid-Afrika het ons tans nie ‘n tekort aan voedsel nie. So daar kan geargumenteer word dat ons voedelsekerheid het. Tog bevind Statistiek Suid-Afrika in 2010 dat tot 23,9% van die Suid-Afrikaanse bevolking tekorte aan voedsel en honger ervaar.

Hierdie honger en ondervoeding in Suid-Afrika word nie soseer deur ’n tekort aan voedsel, soos in ander lande veroorsaak nie. Dit word veroorsaak deur die armoede van sekere lede van die gemeenskap wat nie kos teen huidige kospryse kan bekostig nie.

Hoe los ons hierdie problem op? Hoe produseer ons meer voedsel op minder grond sonder om die omgewing verder te besoedel. Hoe verseker ons verder dat hierdie voedsel goedkoop genoeg is om voedselsekerheid ook vir die armes in ons gemeenskaop te verseker?

Hierdie lyk na ’n onmoontlike probleem en dilemma. Dit is vir my duidelik dat boerdery, soos ons dit vandag ken, op pad na 2050 duidelik nie die beperkinge wat ons in Suid-Afrika het en die druk van voedselsekerheid die hoof kan bied nie.

Is daar ’n antwoord? Ja, tot op datum die afgelope eeu het ons met tegnologie, met navorsing en opleiding voor gebly met die verskaffing van voedsel. Met tegnologie en navorsing en die deel van kennis deur opleiding, kan die huidige plafonne wat op die produksie van kos bestaan, gebreek word. Daarmee kan meer en meer kos geproduseer word met dieselfde en selfs minder insette. Met tegnologie kan die volle potensiaal van plante verder ontsluit word, om meer te groei van minder; om ons voedselvoorraad te verdubbel en alternatiewe bronne van energie te skep sonder om ons skaars waterbronne uit te put en die hoeveelheid koolsuurgas wat ons in die atmosfeer loslaat te verminder. Hiervoor is meer geld vir navorsing en ons akademiese instellings nodig. Ek glo dit kan gedoen word soos ons landbouprobleme in die verlede opgelos het. Ek glo ons het die afgelope vier jaar daarin geslaag dat daar ‘n groter waardering vir die belangrike rol van landbou vanaf regeringskant; vanaf die privaatsektor en vanaf die media  in Suid-Afrika vir landbou ontwikkel het. Om al bogenoemde probleme op te los, sal egter nog meer gedoen moet word.

Die landbouprobleme word groter op pad na 2050. Ons durf dus nie toelaat dat Suid-Afrika vanweë ons kortsigtigheid of vanweë ’n gebrek aan fondse ten opsigte van navorsing en tegnologie agter raak nie. 

Ek wil alle rolspelers, insluitend georganiseerde landbou bedank vir hul volgehoue goedgesindheid en bereidwilligheid om saam met die regering te werk.

This must be a productive year, where the department, my office and our SOEs will work to ensure success!

I thank you.