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African Farmers Association doubts Western Cape’s commitment to transformation

Afasa spokesperson Ismail Motala, (pictured inspecting the fruit on a pear tree on his farm) has questioned the Province’s commitment to the transformation of the agricultural sector. File Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Afasa spokesperson Ismail Motala, (pictured inspecting the fruit on a pear tree on his farm) has questioned the Province’s commitment to the transformation of the agricultural sector. File Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Published Aug 26, 2021

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Cape Town - The provincial branch of the African Farmers Association of South Africa, (Afasa-Western Cape) has questioned the Province’s commitment to the transformation of the agricultural sector.

Afasa spokesperson Ismail Motala made the remarks after the provincial department of agriculture’s briefing to the legislature’s standing committee on agriculture on the status of the mainly black small holder and subsistence farmers.

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“We cannot have an agricultural department that is purely a conduit for the distribution of Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (Casp) funding without ensuring the transformation of the sector,” said Motala.

“The statistics put forward do not reflect the true and real state of black farmers in the province.

“The statistics show only distribution of funds and nothing on economic growth and development that will ensure economic integration of black people in the economy.”

Committee chairperson Andricus Van Der Westhuizen (DA) said the department would be spending over R174 million on the support of smallholder and subsistence farmers in order to lift a significant percentage of them into the commercial farming category.

“Owing to this immense potential, I will be conducting oversight visits to ensure that the allocated monies have been efficiently spent.”

He described the department’s mission as one “to change the landscape of farming from an Afrikaner dominated entity to one that welcomes transformation”.

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In answer to ANC provincial agriculture spokesperson Pat Marran who asked about the 50 farmers identified as part of the department’s black producers’ commercial programme and the assistance they had received, head of agriculture Mogale Sebopetsa said the department continued to monitor them and their progress from smallholder or subsistence farming into the ranks of commercial farmers.

However he said that some of them were resisting the move to become commercial farmers as that would mean they lost out on some of the funding supplied by the department.

Responding to a statistic from the department’s higher education and training director Jerry Aries, who said one of their problems was the 1:390 ratio of extension officers to farmers, committee member Nosipho Makamba-Botya (EFF) asked what the department was doing to resolve the problem

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Sebopetsa said there was no way that the department could appoint an additional 60 officers, the number needed to come up to an acceptable ratio, and until such a time as they could, they would have to rely on groups such as Agri-SA and Afasa for support.

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Cape Argus

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