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Government clearly does not realise what dangers a struggling agricultural industry holds for the country

Debate in parliament: Adjustment Budget for Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development

 

The ANC government clearly does not realise what real dangers a struggling agricultural industry holds for the country. Agriculture is in big trouble and by implication, so is South Africa. It cannot go on like this.

Agriculture's accrual budget is indicative of this. One of the most important relief programmes for farmers, which relates directly to food security and aid to farmers, has been reduced by R1,8 billion. It shows that the government does not really care about uplifting emerging farmers and ensuring food security.

The biggest problem is not the inadequate budget or even the misguided priorities amid the pandemic. It is the Department and government's utter disregard for agriculture on the whole. This is clearly evident as there seems to be no motivation to find a solution for how to fund farmers in need.

 

 

The Department could have consulted with the National Treasury to get Landbank functional again or they could have made plans to establish something like an agricultural credit board.

The Department does not care about the future of South Africa as a drought-stricken region and the government is indifferent to the current drought conditions – if the government and the Department were serious about these issues, then the country would not have had to wait until the 4th of March for the Minister of Cooperative Governance to declare the country a drought disaster area.

And the deputy director-general of the National Disaster Management Centre would not recently have announced unceremoniously that the drought is no longer considered a disaster. The Department would have done more than pay lip service, it would have found a way to support farmers through the ongoing droughts.

Concerning farm attacks, President Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated during last week's presidential Imbizo that farm attacks and murders are no more than ordinary crimes. The FF Plus wants to let the President know that he is wrong. It is not ordinary crime.

Thus, the party is once again requesting that farm attacks and murders must be declared a priority crime. Every farm attack threatens food security and results in more job losses.

The time has come for the ANC government to get serious about agriculture. It is time to take the proposals and concerns of a party like the FF Plus seriously. The FF Plus wants to thank every single farmer in the country for their selfless contribution to food security despite a government that is hostile toward them.

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