MEC Qoboshiyane’s 2014/15 Policy Speech
eBhisho July 2, 2014; “I am proud and confident to say this term of government will be characterised by radical socio-economic transformation that is meaningfully addressing poverty, unemployment and inequality. The National Development Plan lays a solid a foundation for this radical socio-economic agenda.”
The challenges faced in the rural areas are lack of access to clean water, sanitation, renewable energy, better road networks, ICT and health facilitates.
ROLE OF WOMEN
To date, 81 domestic sewing and 6 block-making machines have been provided in various parts of the province. 183 young people were provided with skills in construction through a partnership with the SETAs. 545 households have alternative energy sources.
The Department has consciously supported the farmers by providing agricultural infrastructure which focused more on improving livestock and increase crop production for farming communities. The fencing project covered 1 915 km and through this 19 150ha of arable land and 56 442ha of grazing land were fenced. Multi-purpose sheds, animal handling facilities, water facilities, production facilities and structures for small stocks, totalling 397 units were provided.
In support of smallholder farmers, small irrigation projects were provided with irrigation equipment at Tsolwana, Great Kei, Senqu, Elundini, KSD and Mhlontlo Local Municipalities.
The Department ploughed and planted 33 801 ha, supporting 67 273 households and creating 963 job opportunities. 1 220 beneficiaries covering an area of 919ha for deciduous and 1 096ha for citrus were assisted. 200 permanent and 7 081 seasonal jobs over the term.
Animal health is critical for economic well-being of the province. To improve genetic material, 1 400 superior genetic animals were provided. The Department is introducing the Dexter breed; a breed that produces sufficient milk for household consumptions at low cost of production.
A total of 17 544 farmers were trained in various commodities. Including 352 learnerships; 492 farm workers, 31 military veterans and 521 farmers who benefited from mentorship program. The Department further extended its capacity building program to training and skilling of Chiefs kunye namakhosikazi akomkhulu.
MOVING EASTERN CAPE FORWARD IN 2014/15
The province took a conscious decision in its MTSF seven priorities by placing rural development and agrarian reform amongst the top three priorities.
CROPPING PRODUCTION PROGRAM
The Department will plant 300 000ha in the next five years. It has allocated R143 million conditional grant towards this program. This amount with farmer contribution shall cover 17 000ha for maize production with an estimated 68 000 tons of grain to benefit 6 129 subsistence farmers. R 20 million has been provided to support 4 703 food insecure households.
LIVESTOCK IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME
The Department shall distribute 600 superior genetic breeding animals to the communities especially the developing farming sector. R 46.7 million has been allocated towards dipping and vaccination and R 9.3 million has been allocated in support of marketing. R 45.9million has been allocated towards building of stock water dams, renovation of dilapidated dipping tanks and intensive animal production facilities. R 2 million has been set aside to support livestock production through research. R 11.8 million has been allocated towards Land Care. 1, 775 jobs will be created.
An allocation of R 204m to Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency (ECRDA). of which R 70 million is allocated for Rural Enterprise Development Hubs (RED Hubs) at Lady Frere and Bizana. The ECRDA is tasked to provide access to alternative energy for 250 households.
CAPACITY BUILDING AND DEVELOPMENT
The Department has set aside R34.7 million targeting 1 365 farmer accredited and non-accredited training programs. 170 farm workers, 80 educators, 120 out-of-school youth and 4H learners will be trained on crop and livestock production.
The department has forged working collaboration with the National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Municipalities, Traditional Leadership and Religious Leaders. This will enable the department to facilitate and coordinate better service delivery to all communities in the province and in particular in the rural space.
The Department will put systems in place to improve organisational performance through performance information management systems.