Our Agriculture & Fisheries Minister, responsible for two critical food security sectors, is hell-bent on destroying both sectors. In a recent BLOG article on www.farmersweekly.co.za the author bemoans the parlous state of the farming sector. Here is an extract of his article:
Recent statistics showed that the sector shrank every quarter of last year. Employment (on a like-for-like basis) in commercial agriculture declined from 764 000 jobs three years ago to 630 000 jobs in the last quarter. Agricultural output – or services and products generated by the sector – declined by 0,4% for 2011.The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is rudderless, with its three main actors reportedly not seeing eye to eye. The department is in a state of limbo. And this is reflected in the state of agriculture. Nothing is happening. Rather, the minister of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, has been busy explaining hotel bills and expensive chartered flights.We need a strong political head of agriculture who can confidently steer the sector through the next couple of years while land reform is intensified. We need a minister who will ensure the sector grows – in terms of output and employment – while the target for land transfer is reached.