(Declaration in parliament: Budgetary Review on Agriculture)
The government's unsuccessful and half-baked agricultural projects, like the Agri-parks project, are hampering organised agriculture and are one of the greatest contributing factors to the failure of emerging farmers.
At present, South Africa's farmers are at the mercy of extreme weather conditions and droughts as well as failed departmental projects that do nothing to help or uplift anyone in the agricultural sector.
Commercial farmers must be offered protection and support to enable them to create the necessary job opportunities so as to expand and, thus, develop sustainable rural economies that will ensure food security.
And yet the Department of Agriculture's focus remains on unrealistic projects, like the Agri-parks that look good on paper, but are no more than impractical failures in practice.
At the moment, more than 20% of South African households do not have adequate access to food and, therefore, food security must be protected by stimulating and developing commercial agriculture.
The recently merged Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Rural Development and Land Reform must establish proper liaising on national, provincial and municipal level so as to prevent projects from falling through the cracks and becoming a breeding ground for corruption.
For this to happen it is important that procurement processes must function correctly, that legislation is complied with and especially that the political will is there to make the necessary changes to make a success of the various projects.
We can dream as big as we want, but if the right, and sometimes unpopular, decisions are not made, South Africa's people will keep going hungry.
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