Small-holder farms remain trapped within the informal economy due to a lack of market infrastructure such as pack-houses, abattoirs, silos and processing plants. Most agriculture markets are impermeable to small producers. For example, processors and retail chains have stringent procurement policies such as international quality standards (GlobalGAP), labelling and exclusive contractual arrangements.
In this regard, five irrigation schemes will be set up in Amajuba, Harry Gwala and Umgungundlovu Districts at a total cost of R22,5 million. We have changed the policy on the support for irrigation development in that, irrigation schemes up to 55ha will now be funded through a 100% grant.
In addition, the Department will implement agro-processing projects to the value of R145 million across the province:
- Goat abattoirs (at Nongoma, Msinga, Uthukela)
- Cattle abattoir at Jozini, Bhambanana, which is 95% complete
- Tannery (Uthukela)
- Vegetable value addition (eThekwini and Stanger)
- Winery bottling facility (uThukela)
- Maize milling and silos in Zululand
- Industrial crops: Sweet sorghum biofuels (Ugu). EIA is a priority for the approval of the energy licence
- Essential Oils (Uthungulu, Harry Gwala and Umgungundlovu)
Implementation over 2 years starting in 16/17
- Dairies (2 in Harry Gwala District and 1 in Amajuba with a twenty four month implementation window)
- Marula processing plant in Umkhanyakude. The building of the plant has been completed and in this financial year, oil abstraction equipment will be installed
It is the aim of the KZN DARD to, over time, facilitate a business enabling environment for aquaculture through institutional capacity and skills development across the whole value chain. An Aquaculture post has been established within the Department for driving the Aquaculture Programme in the province.
At the heart of everything that we do, is upliftment of the poor. The Department is set to establish 1370 household food gardens, 170 community gardens, 190 Institutional gardens and 198 food tunnels. The idea is not to dish out seeds in the hope that people will establish gardens. The Department is offering a starter pack including seeds, broiler chickens and goats, if desired as well as skills training and support. The objective is for households to get a kick-start and encouragement to grow their enterprises.
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. All requirements of the World Organization on Animal Health (OIE) with regards to managing Foot and Mouth Disease, have been met. We have however, encountered problems with the Red Line Fence separating the infected area from the infection free zone. The fence has been regularly vandalized by members of the public going in search of water. The Department remains committed to ensuring there is no further outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease.
Like our scientists, the Veterinary Services in our Department have been doing sterling work. The service received a boost with the commencement of Compulsory Community Services for new veterinary graduates. There are currently ten graduates working in the Department. In addition, there are five well-branded mobile Animal Health Care clinics that became operational this year.
An exciting development in boosting Animal Health Care in communal areas is that the Department will be investing R20 million a year over the next three years on a KZN Diptank Assistants Program. This program will employ, train and equip 900 dip tank assistants to provide support at a local level in the management of the Province’s 1800 dip tanks. The assistants will be called Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWS). The program will be piloted in Sisonke, Umzinyathi and Umkhanyakude District Municipalities.
The Department used its initiative and looked within its own coffers to roll out over R220 million as a drought lifeline to farmers. Forty five million of this amount came from the CASP and Ilima/Letsema conditional grants.
The intervention was offered on a sliding scale with the bulk of the relief going to subsistence and struggling small-holder farmers with commercial farmers also benefitting, albeit to a limited extent, in order to protect jobs.
- R60 million went to inputs for livestock and water harvesting.
- R45 million for the scooping of 75 dams and the rehabilitation/building of 62 boreholes across the province.
- R9 million for an aggressive de-worming campaign. De-worming the stock, helped reduce stress in the animals to ensure that feed is used efficiently.
- R45 million for the provision of hay.
- R69 million, of which R41 million, has already been transferred went to the sugar sector.
- An additional R71 million also provided by the Department of Land Reform and Rural Development.