South Africa: DFI announces 'realistic' land reform strategy - FreshFruitPortal.com

South Africa: DFI announces 'realistic' land reform strategy

South Africa's Deciduous Fruit Industry (DFI) has announced its industry-driven land reform initiatives which it says are a 'pro-active and realistic' response to the aims and objective of the National Development Plan. manzanas_63543901sq

A release said the program was aimed at achieving the vision of a 'transformed, sustainable and integrated industry value chain' with the Deciduous Fruit Development Chamber SA (DFDC-SA), supported by Hortgro via a portion of the industry statutory levy as implementing agents.

The program is said to be based on a 'set of guiding principles and key success factors' identified and agreed by the industry stakeholders to ensure sustainable economic development and land reform within the realities of the capital, labour and technology intensive and long-term nature of the sector.

DFDC-SA chairman Pitso Sekhoto said the DFI had 'high multipliers', both in terms of income generation and job creation.

The strategy provides for the revitalisation of 120 existing hectares and at least 1,227 new hectares - 722 of pomefruit and 505 of  stonefruit - over the five-year period 2015/16 to 2019/20 in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Gauteng.

A program to develop a further 2,000 hectares in the Free State in a partnership between the provincial Department of Agriculture, the industry and the private sector is currently being planned. The investment in land, plantings, equipment and infrastructure is estimated to be approximately R1.1 billion (US$91 million).

These plantings - linked to various private initiatives in the sector that have already been implemented with a number of new programmes in the pipeline - will reportedly add between 15% and 20% new hectares to the DFI over the next 10 to 15 years.

The DFI release said between 6-7,000 new permanent jobs would be created on primary and secondary level in the next five years, and up to 20,000 over the next 15 years with further rural development through the provision of basic infrastructure and services.

Sekhoto also said there were 'multiple constraints' on the way to commercializing black farmers. This includes aspects such as market compliance requirements imposed by private retailers, like GlobalGAP, as well as compliance and transaction costs for reaching distant markets and access to funding.

He added whole-farm planning and value chain integration was 'fundamental to ensure long term success.'

DFDC-SA and Hortgro support will be based on proper profiling of each member of the DFDC’s farming enterprise, increased production footprint of black farmers in the DFI, increased production efficiency, improved market access, black farmers' integration into the value chain, developing profitable value-added enterprises, and the graduation of black farmers to provide space for new entrants into the development sphere.

Hortgro chairman Nicholas Dicey said the strategy catered for the support and facilitation of business plans for both '100% black entities and equity initiatives' based on the guiding principles developed and endorsed by the industry.

He emphasized the graduation of farmers was critical to measure success of the planned interventions which would be informed and guided by increased and consistent production levels coupled with sufficient training, improved quality of produce, improved technical abilities, improved management of resources, improved governance and social cohesion in the case of groups, and increased access to national and international markets.

"The additional volumes must have feasible markets," Dicey said.

"HORTGRO is working very hard in alliance with the other fruit exporting within FruitSA, in conjunction with various national Government Departments to ensure efficient processes to access priority markets in Africa and the Middle and Far East."

Access to both commercial and soft funding, customized and structured to meet the needs and requirements of emerging producers to underpin the industry strategy is being explored.

Dicey also indicated that a number of other dimensions of transformation were already being dealt with by the industry bodies in conjunction with various departments on the three tiers of government.

This includes solutions to farm worker and rural housing, risk mitigation including crop insurance and a quick response process relating to disaster aid, rural services, and addressing various socio-economic issues, skills development and training.

It is also envisaged that the social partners will agree and develop national, provincial and regional platforms to engage and deal with labour and other challenges transparently and equitably.

Apart from the portion of industry levy funding that will be utilized to provide basic capacity to roll out the strategy, the resources and agrarian support measures and funding of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF), the various Provincial Agricultural Departments, and the District Land Committee (DLC) structures and resources of the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) through which acquisition of land and selection of beneficiaries will be managed.

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