The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is a key department within the economic cluster in stimulating growth and job creation, and it remains a kernel in the baseline sustainable economic sectors as well as rural economy, with specific interventions and support to reduce and eliminate poverty through subsistence farming.
Multi-Planting Season Programme
The Department has set aside R77 million to regenerate the multi-planting season (Phez’komkhono) programme in the current financial year. Even though the province has experienced unfavorable weather conditions resulting in delayed rains and consequently the start of the planting season, the Department successfully assisted farmers to plant over 11 000 hectares in the financial year 2019/20. The Department will accelerate the programme through the use and promotion of conservation tillage to enable development of more areas and protection of natural resources. Farmers will be encouraged to practice this farming method including other climate smart agricultural technologies in light of global warming and climate change.
As part of enterprise development, the Department will pilot in two districts the use of locally based SMMEs to provide mechanization services. This initiative will enable expedient provision of services and consequently benefit both the local businesses and farmers who were unable to receive the state mechanization services.
Through its LandCare programme, the Department continues to optimize productivity and the sustainability of agricultural natural resources by promoting community participation in sustainable land use and its management. Community based projects amounting to R42 million were implemented in the 2019/2021 financial year and over 1000 EPWP jobs opportunities were created. In the current financial year, the Department will implement community-based projects under LandCare to rehabilitate agricultural land and create over 1100 EPWP job opportunities. Over and above community-based projects, the programme will also fund in-school initiatives under the JuniorCare Programme. The programme will also be able to create awareness for the various environmental days like World Wetland Day, Water Week, World Desertification Day and Arbor Day. The LandCare programme also provides accredited training to its beneficiaries. Over 500 participants will receive training in chainsaw operation, health and safety, first aid and mixed farming. An amount of R53 million has been set aside to ensure the implementation of the LandCare programme interventions for this financial year.
The Veterinary Services Directorate seeks to promote animal health to safeguard food security, human health and animal welfare by controlling animal diseases of economic and zoonotic importance in the province and country at large. It also supports community developments and projects.
In order to build capacity in this unit, the Department intends to procure 3 fully-fledged mobile theatres that will contribute to elimination of diseases such rabies and other opportunistic animal diseases.
The Veterinary Services will continue with their vaccination campaigns. The success of this is clearly visible in the decline of Rabies cases in the province.
Like our scientists, the Veterinary Services in our Department have been doing sterling work.
The CCS programme aims to provide accessible and affordable veterinary services in the whole country, especially the rural communities. The programme will involve the deployment of newly qualified veterinarians across the entire country and will focus on disease prevention, rendering ambulatory services and providing education, especially, regarding responsible pet ownership, resource utilization and optimizing livestock production. This programme will offer the newly qualified veterinarian the opportunity to render their much-needed service to rural areas and gain valuable experience and knowledge.
As part of the Provincial Livestock Strategy, the Department had identified wool improvement as an important area of focus in agricultural related products, especially, given its export market opportunities.
The Department will invest R39.5 million over a period of 3 years for construction of shearing sheds, renovation of existing sheds, purchasing of shearing equipment, equipping all shearing sheds with dip-tanks and establishment of cultivated pasture. The implementation of this programme will have a positive overall impact in the profitability and sustainability of wool farming by providing world-class production technology and skills to black African wool farmers in KwaZulu-Natal.