DALRRD has no budget or plan to support the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan

Issued by Noko Masipa MP – DA Member on the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
19 Jun 2022 in News

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development’s (DALRRD) Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan (AAMP) has recently been released, but already in danger of becoming just a pipe dream.

This became apparent after DALRRD appeared before the portfolio committee in Parliament to present the AAMP, a plan which seeks to address, among others, the pressing matter of food security.

According to Minister Thoko Didiza, the AAMP is a product of negotiations between government, business, labour and civil society organisations in the agriculture and agro-processing sectors. During the department’s presentation, the committee was informed that the strategic plan contains commodity specific transformation targets, jobs, exports, investments and growth rates. Furthermore, the plan has a focus on commercial, land reform in rural areas to increase food production and address the infrastructure challenges.

As part of the presentation, the department failed to provide answers to questions from members concerning its funding and ability to execute the AAMP plan. The expectation was that the department would provide details to Parliament on how they have reprioritized budgets in order to put the strategy into action.

However, it was quickly apparent that the department lacked an implementation plan because they were unable to outline to the committee any concrete steps. Further, the department noted that the plan is yet to be developed. As a consequence, the department would not have been able to reprioritize the budget without this plan.

It also became clear that the DALRRD did not make contact with National Treasury, and as a result provinces and municipalities, as well as other agencies and SOEs affected by these recorded plans, are not ready to implement the plans. This reappropriation will require the DALRRD to provide National Treasury with a solid convincing implementation plan which the department isn’t ready to support.

Despite the fact that the AAMP has received widespread support from the agricultural business community, the government has gone out of its way to disappoint the social partners. Unfortunately, the industry may be forced to proceed with implementation considering the departments’ poor track record with programme implementation.

The ANC government’s inefficiencies and incompetence is once again rearing its ugly head. The majority of organised farm members with whom the DA engaged are happy and eager to implement the AAMP, but the department is not ready. The DA will press Minister Thoko Didiza for timetables of completing the AAMP implementation plan, as well as feedback on budget reprioritization in provinces, other departments, SOEs and municipalities.

While the DA supports significant economic efforts that help farmers and assure a vibrant agriculture, we reject plans that languish due to a lack of implementation strategies and plans.