Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development gives climate advisory for 2022/23 summer

The majority of the country is currently reporting poor to reasonable veld and livestock conditions. Summer rainfall areas began receiving some rain, mostly later in October and farmers are preparing land for planting. Parts of the Western Cape, extreme western areas of the Northern Cape and the Sarah Baartman District of the Eastern Cape continue to experience dry conditions. The average level of major dams remains high in most provinces.

According to the Seasonal Climate Watch issued by the South African Weather Service, dated 1 November 2022, above-normal rainfall is expected for most parts of the country for the summer season. Minimum temperatures are expected to be above-normal countrywide, however, maximum temperatures are expected to be below-normal over large parts of the country during the entire summer.

The October Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) reported that Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to become more widespread in areas of southern Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique, as well as areas of Angola and much of Zimbabwe due to compounding impacts of poor 2021/22 rainfall, tropical cyclones, and domestic economic declines that started in October.

Food security outcomes are expected to be most severe in southwestern Madagascar, where Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes also started in October. The population in need is likely to steadily increase through early 2023. Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and northern Mozambique remains the primary driver of acute food insecurity with the disruption to livelihood activities. In Mozambique, the Cabo Delgado and Nampula provinces experienced an escalation of militia attacks in September.

According to the International Organization for Migration, more than 15 400 people were displaced between late August and late September. In the DRC, the security situation in the eastern provinces continues to deteriorate, especially in Ituri. Households in conflict-affected areas continue experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes and face difficulty engaging in the upcoming agricultural season.

FEWS NET further reported that across the region, poor households are engaging in off-season income-earning activities. While opportunities are currently limited, they were expected to improve to near-normal levels in October as land preparation started in most areas. November through December will likely see further improvements in agricultural activities, including planting. Predicted La Niña conditions are typically associated with average to above-average rainfall in Southern Africa. They will likely improve the availability of agricultural labour opportunities in most of the region.

However, in areas like southern Madagascar, income from agricultural labour opportunities will remain lower than normal as better-off households have lower liquidity following consecutive droughts. Food prices are increasing as more households rely on markets for food, especially in areas where production deficits were observed in 2022.

This year, price increases have been accelerated by high fuel prices linked to high global prices, according to FEWS NET. Prices of maize grain are 70% to 180% above the five-year average in Malawi and up to 42% higher than the average in Mozambique. In the DRC and Zimbabwe, food prices are expected to remain above the five-year average throughout the lean season.

In Madagascar’s southern drought-affected areas, dried cassava prices are 67% higher than average. In most countries, inflation has also been increasing, likely triggering more price increases for food. Poor households in the most deficit areas will continue struggling to access food commodities on the market due to weak purchasing power.

[The IPC is a set of standardised tools that aims at providing a “common currency” for classifying the severity and magnitude of food insecurity.]

With the current conditions in mind, as well as the seasonal forecast, dryland farmers are advised to wait for sufficient moisture before planting and remain within the planting window. Farmers in areas that have been constantly experiencing dry conditions should prioritise drought-tolerant cultivars. In regions that are in reasonable condition, farmers are advised to prepare in line with the expected conditions, i.e., in line with the seasonal forecast.

However, they should not expand planting land unnecessarily. In addition, farmers should note that rainfall distribution remains a challenge, therefore not all areas might receive the anticipated above-normal rainfall that is well distributed.

Farmers are also advised to put measures in place for pests and diseases associated with wet and hot conditions as above-normal rainfall is anticipated. Moreover, it is important for farmers to follow the weather forecast regularly so as to make informed decisions. Farmers using irrigation should comply with water restrictions in their areas. Farmers must continually conserve resources in accordance with the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, 1983 (Act No. 43 of 1983).

Farmers are advised to keep livestock in balance with carrying capacity of the veld, and provide additional feed such as relevant licks. Livestock should be provided with enough water points on the farm as well as shelter during bad weather conditions. Winter rainfall areas are becoming drier, increasing favourable conditions for veld fires. Therefore, the creation and maintenance of fire belts through mechanical means should be prioritised along with adherence to veld fire warnings.

Episodes of flooding resulting from rain bearing weather systems have occurred and will continue; precautionary measures should be in place. Heat waves have been reported and will occur during summer and therefore measures to combat these should be prepared. Farmers are encouraged to implement strategies provided in the early warning information issued.

The department will partner with all relevant stakeholders to continue raising awareness in the sector and capacitation of farmers on understanding, interpretation and utilisation of early-warning information for disaster risk mitigation and response.

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Minister Thoko Didiza launches R3.2-billion blended finance scheme to assist farmers

The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza, MP launches a 3.2-billion blended finance scheme with Land Bank. 

The programme will be implemented over a 10-year period with the department investing a minimum of R3.2-billion over the period. The funding will be on a blended finance structure which is a combination of a loan and grant with the focus on commodities as per the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan. 

The department and Land Bank have each invested R325-million per annum which will effectively result in the creation of a R650-million fund a year and it will grow to R1.95-billion by end of Year 3. 

Land Bank is a specialist agricultural Development Finance Institution (DFI) that is embarking on a revised strategy which is aimed at improving the effective balancing of financial sustainability and developmental outcomes in order to meaningfully contribute to the development and transformation of the agricultural sector in South Africa. 

The bank achieved a clean audit outcome for Financial Year 2022 providing an indication of the bank’s sound governance, management controls and processes to enable the successful implementation of the Blended Finance Scheme. 

“Strategic partnerships like these are critical to ensure growth, food security, development of farmers and transformation of the agricultural sector, and contribute towards job creation,” said Minister Didiza. 

“In order to ensure increased affordability and inclusion, and to reduce the risk of failure by new entrants, Land Bank will predominantly follow a blended finance model to support development farmers,” says the Land Bank Chairperson, Thabi Nkosi. 

This partnership aims to support the development of small and medium scale producers to participate in the mainstream agricultural economy and along the agricultural value chain. 
The objective of the Fund is to make the land and agrarian reform successful by supporting the development, acquisitions and production expansion of qualifying black producers in prioritised value chains. This is meant to achieve the following goals: 

  • Economic growth and expansion of the agricultural sector
  • Accelerate land redistribution and wealth creation
  • Job creation
  • Transformation of the sector
  • Increased exports
  • Effective land reform and rural development (especially under-utilised land)
     

Access to the blended finance scheme will be directly through Land Bank and the department will perform and oversight role including reporting to all its relevant structures. Furthermore, the received Expression of Interest from other private banks and engagements are at an advanced stage as part of the goal of broadening access to finance by producers. 

The targeted sectors include: 

  • Fruits, nuts and vegetables value chains 
  • Grains and sugarcane 
  • Poultry value chain, 
  • Pork, Beef and sheep value chains, 
  • Other viable ventures that supports the AAMP. 
     

Grants will be provided based on the pre-set Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development qualifying criteria. 

Important to note is that long-term lease agreements including Permission to Occupy that is longer than the period of funding will be accepted as adequate security to enable access to funding. 

Who qualifies? 

  • South African citizens with a valid identity document
  • Black-owned and managed farming enterprises that are commercially viable in commodities prioritised in the AAMP
  • In the case of Joint Ventures, the non-black partner should have 40% but not less than 26% ownership in the enterprise
  • Enterprises with 10% farm worker profit sharing; the National Development Plan urges that by 2030, no one should go to bed hungry
  • Youth (40% targeted), women (50% targeted), People with Disability (6% targeted) and military veterans
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Council of Agriculture brings 23 Taiwanese companies to showcase 60 cutting edge agriculture, livestock, and aquaculture technologies

Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan of Taiwan (COA) will gather 23 Taiwanese agricultural companies to form “Taiwan Agricultural Technology Pavilion” in Asia Agri-Tech Expo & Forum 2022, which will take place on 10th ~ 12th of November 2022 at Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, Hall 1.

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Wyld Networks and Agrology to use Satellite IoT so farms can collect data in remote locations

Agrology to integrate Wyld Network’s satellite-based IoT connectivity into its predictive agriculture platform for global, 24/7 data collection.

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MEC Ivan Meyer on the growth of Western Cape agriculture

The first-quarter GDP results show that agriculture in the Western Cape remains resilient

South Africa’s economy increased by an annualised and adjusted quarterly growth rate of 4.6% in the first quarter of 2021, according to StatsSA’s latest report.

This same report further indicated that the agricultural sector’s performance declined by 3.2% in the first quarter of 2021.

However, the year-on-year quarterly growth rate approach, which compares the first quarter of 2021 to the same quarter in 2020, shows that agricultural economic output increased by 7.5%.

Western Cape MEC of Agriculture, Dr. Ivan Meyer, said the latter was good news.

Said MEC Meyer: “When viewed on an annualised basis, the latest GDP data supports our view that Agriculture Sector will continue to contribute to the economic recovery of the Western Cape.”

Western Cape Department of Agriculture economist, Tshepo Morokong, highlights that an analysis of the data of some of the horticultural products important to the Western Cape shows a year-on-year quarterly increase in the first quarter of 2021.

Said Morokong: “The nominal agricultural gross income from rooibos tea (140%), deciduous and other fruits (16%), vegetables (6%), flowers and bulb (24%) shows an increase when compared to the same quarter in 2020”.

South African export volumes of a few selected agricultural products essential to the Western Cape economy from January to March 2020 and this same period in 2021 also show positive growth.

Export volumes show an increase in prunes and sloes (115%), peaches & nectarines (prepared) (67%), Peaches & Nectarines (Fresh) (34%) and berries (2%).

Morokong continues: “With the continuing good rains, agricultural performance is expected to improve in the quarters to come.

“Agriculture in South Africa is under pressure due to policy uncertainty caused by expropriation without compensation. However, agriculture in the Western Cape remains resilient, as can be seen from our latest export data,” concluded MEC Meyer.

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Minister Thoko Didiza: Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development Dept Budget Vote 2021/22

13 May 2021

Budget Vote Address by Minister A T Didiza during the budget debate of the Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development

This year we honour and celebrate the life of Me Charlotte Mannya Maxeke. Through her life, we can learn how she confronted the challenges that faced her society during her time. Charlotte was both a social and a political activist. In examining her life through the lenses of those who have done research on her life, it is clear that she continuously fought for political freedoms that were denied to many of her people. She mobilised women through campaigns on issues that affected them, such as pass laws and the land question. The quest for gender equality and women’s emancipation formed part of her struggles. Speaking at the memorial service of the Great Xhosa prophet Ntsikana in Johannesburg Maxeke said:

“We want men to protect the women of their nation, not men who hurt and endanger women when they become aware of their rights. We want men who are the salvation of the young girls of their nation whom can depend on their presence. We need men who will humble themselves so that the nation may lift then up to the starts of Africa for future generations. That is what Africa wants, that is what the women of Africa are weeping and praying for.” These words spoken in 1922 are still relevant to this day.

Madam Speaker and Honourable members, it is for this reason that our Government today, working with women’s organizations and civil society continues to fight against gender-based violence. The need to review our legislation is critical as another instrument for fighting gender based violence in society. Raising awareness that enables us to learn to respect women and girls in our homes, religious institutions, traditional leadership systems and the society is important. To change behaviour we need to unlearn the practices and customs that oppress women. We need to learn to uplift conflict resolution as an important people for dealing with conflict in the homes and elsewhere.  In addition, we need to mainstream gender equality in our policies and programmatic interventions.

Women’s empowerment cannot be an afterthought nor an add-on, but it ought to be integral in our policy, legal framework and our socio economic development plans.

Land Reform

Madam Speaker and Honourable members, you must have noted that even on the land allocation policies and processes, we have made a deliberate target that fifty per cent of the land allocation will go to women, forty per cent to youth and six per cent to people with disabilities. The land is an asset that can liberate women, not only in terms of ownership but also in the productive use of this asset for economic participation and livelihood.

Last year, President Ramaphosa announced that Government would release 700 000 hectares of state land for agricultural purposes. These land parcels included communities who have been utilising state land, farmers whose leases had either expired or never had any and some of these, there were no allocation made. We outlined a process that will ensure that we affirm the tenure rights of those who have been utilizing this land following the land enquiry process.

To date, we have managed to allocate 436 563 hectares of the 700 000 ha. Of the 436 563 ha allocated, the Department had, as of yesterday, issued leases for 206 765 hectares, of which:

  • 53 880 hectares comprising of 78 farms  were allocated to 211 females;
  • 14 251 hectares comprising of 18 farms  were  allocated to 131 youth;
  • 842 hectares (0,4%) comprising of 1 farm (0,5%) were allocated to a person with disabilities.

There are 116 farms totaling 127 743 ha which are occupied by communities. Given the nature of how this land has been utilized we have not achieved the fifty per cent allocation that we set for ourselves.

On the other forms of land redistribution through Pro Active Land Acquisition, Labour tenants and TRANCRAA, the Deputy Minister of Land Reform, Deputy Minister Skwatsha will have detailed how we have performed as well as how we seek to address the challenges that we face in respect of land administration.

Labour Tenants

Madam Speaker, Honourable Members, I wish to report that Professor Levin was appointed by the Land Claims Court as the Special Master for Labour Tenants in order to work with the Department in RESOLVING THE 9033 CLAIMS that are remaining out of the 20 000 that were lodged.

The Special Master working with the Department has tabled the execution plan in the Land Claims Court on how in the five years these claims will be resolved. Madam Speaker I need to indicate to this house that the Labour tenants plan has been informed by the provincial visits that the Special Master has undertaken in order to familiarize himself with the extent of the Labour tenancy challenge.

During these visits, the Special Master met with Labour tenants, civil society and farmers. On 17 May 2021, a workshop will be held in Paulpietersburg where all the stakeholders will participate in engaging on the implementation plan, which includes development support for the Labour tenants who will receive the land.

Land Restitution

Honourable Members, Land Restitution continues to be a matter of concern. We indicated our commitment to accelerating the resolution on old order claims. In the past financial year, we have settled 240 claims, which covered both urban and rural claims. The District Six development is continuing as planned, though disturbed by COVID-19 pandemic. In June 2021, the allocation of 108 housing units will be completed for qualifying beneficiaries, and the elderly will be prioritised.

Agricultural Land Leases

Madam Speaker, the management of farmland leases has caused concern from farmers, financial institutions, would-be investors and members of this very house. The Rakgase, Cloete and Zigana cases, though resolved, have amplified the need for a complete overhaul of our system of property management as a department.

We have also noted that some of the farms in Rust de Winter are under land claim. Noting the challenge brought by this development, Government will ensure that farmers with valid leases in this area continue with their farming operations. The Department will look for alternative land where they will be allocated. The Deeds Registry will also ensure that farm leases that are earmarked for farmers are registered in order to create certainty from the financial institutions and interested investors.

Madam Speaker, land delivery is vital in reversing the land inequality in our country. However, the productive use of the land is equally an important function. In the past year, agricultural activity was critical in providing food security for the country and the region. The performance of the sector remains positive throughout the year. In tabling the budget, it is essential to give an agricultural outlook.

Agricultural Sector performance and outlook

In 2021, the outlook on agriculture is positive; and we expect the sector to show strong growth figures and create employment. This optimism is supported by good weather, expansion in area plantings, and improving business confidence in the agriculture and agribusiness sectors. Effective public-private partnerships and transparency in policy-making partly underpin the positive business confidence in the sector.

Today, we have the Beneficiary Selection and Land Allocation Policy and Land Donations Policy. These policies emanate from the Presidential Panel’s recommendations on Land and Agriculture and aim to bring fairness and effectiveness in land reform.

Cabinet has also approved the Phytosanitary Bill and the Agricultural Products Standards Amendment Bill for tabling in Parliament. These Bills are critical in strengthening the regulatory environment within the sector. As a Department, we will also increase our capacity for animal health at the national level to support our regulatory environment.

Honourable Members, animal and plant health, are important for food security and agricultural trade. The current outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza affecting about six commercial farms in the country is being attended to by our veterinary services in the Province supported by the national. Containment measures have been put in place in the affected farms. We continue with our surveillance so that we manage the spread. We have noted the setback that this has had in our regional markets.

Although there may be these setbacks in the poultry industry, the following agricultural commodities have and will continue to do well even in this current year. The citrus industry has increased its volumes and has broken into new markets. This year, we could see another record citrus exports. Moreover, the grain and oilseeds industry has also done well during the year 2020/2021. The current harvesting season is currently underway, and farmers are reporting record yields in various crops.

The contribution of black commercial farmers in our country’s agricultural economy is still low, though they are steadily growing at 11 per cent in the livestock sector. The low levels of inclusion call for serious intervention from both the Government and other stakeholders in driving inclusive growth. Madam Speaker I wish to locate our interventions on the pillars of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan which are the following;-

  • Massive roll out of infrastructure;
  • Massive increase in local production;
  • Employment stimulus to create jobs and livelihoods; and
  • Rapid expansion of our generation capacity.

On the Employment, a stimulus to create jobs and livelihoods, our Department was allocated R1 billion to support 70 000 subsistence farmers whose operations are of the size of a soccer field.  Currently, 53 000 subsistence farmers have been approved. About 1434 unemployed graduates and NARYSEC youth were enrolled to assist in the verification of applicants. A total of 1209 of these young people will continue to do monitoring and evaluation of the program.

The issue of agriculture infrastructure remains important in particular infrastructure that supports local production. Together with the MEC of Agriculture in the Western Cape Province, we will unveil the irrigation infrastructure in Ebenhaezer that will assist the emerging farmers who have benefited from the land claim. We will continue with the rehabilitation of irrigation infrastructure and consider new irrigation systems that will expand land under irrigation. In areas where water challenges remain a challenge, we will ensure that we support farmers with boreholes and other means of water harvesting. Deputy Minister Dlamini will have detailed information on infrastructure development under rural development.

Massive Increase in local production

In agriculture, this will require a combination of interventions as well as different support systems. Some of these interventions are;

1. Increase land under production. 

This will mean cultivating land that has been given to individuals and communities through our land reform program and those in communal areas.

2. Strengthening our  Extension and advisory services by employing capable individual Officers. 

The importance of extension services in agricultural development cannot be underplayed. In the seminars that I conducted in the nine provinces in April and May 2021, I was able to meet over 2 000 farmers and agribusiness people, and in all these seminars, there was an emphasis on the importance of extension services and the visibility of these officers. As committed by the Minister of Finance, the Department and the provinces have crafted a Strategy on the Employment of Extension Officers, and we will employ 2 447 in this financial year. Noting the importance of regulatory services in addressing biosecurity matters in our provinces, we will employ an additional 50 animal health technicians this year.

3. Collaborating with Private Sector and individuals who are willing to be mentors as well as able to give off take agreements to those who produce.

Honourable Members, such partnerships can work if structured well. This morning I was with Tiger Brand in Nigel, Gauteng where they have been working with Khumo Ea Tsabo in supporting the commercialization of black farmers. About five farmers participating in this program were given 30-year lease by our department. In total, 10 farmers are involved in the aggregate propeller model.

Through this commercialization model, the farmers have access to mechanization, technical support and the market, which is Tiger Brand itself.

Tiger Brands have through this program of smallholder farmer development supported 80 black farmers to a tune of R40 million Rand.

They have committed to work to enrol 100 new black farmers and have challenged the government to collaborate with them in this journey. There are a couple of other private sector companies and individuals Lusanda Moeletsane of Khumo Ea Tsabo who are willing to work with the government in order to leverage our resources in the development of black farmers while we ensure that we give meaningful support to those who are beneficiaries of land reform.

4. Strengthening our agri-financial services to support production remains critical.

Madam Speaker, Land Bank remains and important institution in supporting the agricultural sector and we will do anything possible to secure its future. My department is working closely with National Treasury to work out a sustainable financial model that will ensure that the Bank continues to fulfil its mandate. The Minister of Finance announced in the 2021 February Budget that an amount of R7 billion over the MTEF has been secured to support Land Bank. This allocation will help to resolve the bank’s current default and re-establish the development and transformation mandate. My department will also ensure that additional resources are diverted to the Land Bank. All of these efforts will complement the efforts that are in place to support emerging farmers. Food security is key.

Finalization of the DALRRD-Banking SA Blended Finance Facility

The Department re-launched the Blended Finance Scheme (BFS) in March this year to leverage private funding to support investments that will unlock and enhance agricultural production, agro-processing and comprehensive land acquisition by black producers through deliberate, targeted and well-defined financial and non-financial interventions.  

This approach will enable the Department to collaborate with development financial institutions, private financial institutions and commodity organizations to mainstream the participation of black producers along the agricultural value chains.

5. Agricultural Research

The International Food Policy Research Institute conducted a study and found that:

“Extensive empirical evidence demonstrates that agricultural research and development investments have greatly contributed to economic growth, agricultural development, and poverty reduction in developing regions over the past five decades.”

The Agricultural Research Council will utilize the Parliamentary Grant to focus on the development of scientific solutions, inclusive of the development of new technologies and crop varieties, enhancing the quantity and quality of agricultural produce, devising climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, increasing sustainability, reducing consumer food prices. The ARC will also be training at least 600 NARYSEC participants and continue training young scientists through the Professional Development Program to attain higher degrees such as PhD and MSc to applicable in the sector. Deputy Minister Dlamini will elaborate on the NARYSEC program. 

6. Strengthening our  Climate Change Response and Biosecurity challenges

The impact of climate change and human migration affects the outbreak of pests and diseases. Of late, South Africa had outbreaks of brown locusts, exotic fruit flies, African swine fever and Foot and mouth disease. Putting up early warning systems, rapid response mechanisms and control measures are important for our country to protect production, environment and trade. Relating to the FMD, the ARC has now approved an implementation plan for the design, construction and commissioning of the new Foot and Mouth Disease Vaccine production facility. Very soon, we will be breaking ground upon obtaining the necessary municipal approvals. Upon completion, this facility will provide the country with an important tool to combat the outbreak of this disease and accelerate livestock production for adequate market access and trade. We, therefore, urge the ARC to accelerate the process towards the construction.  The Onderstepoort Biological Product will also, as part of improving its service offering in animal health solutions, work towards concluding its construction of the GMP facility.

7. Massive infrastructure Roll out

Agriculture infrastructure is critical both on farm and off farm. With respect to support to farmers working with the provinces, we need to reflect how we assist farmers with fences, boreholes.

Extending land under irrigation will be our priority. Am happy to inform this house that we will be handing over an irrigation infrastructure in Vredendaal with MEC Meyer. This intervention will go some way in enabling production in this area.

In order to have a template of our interventions, the Master plans serve as a mechanism for collaborative planning. Of importance is the agreement on the vision as well as targets to achieve such a vision statement.

The Master Plans

Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan

After recognising different challenges constraining the growth and development of commercial and emerging farmers in the country, the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan (AAMP) had recommended the adoption of a “Theory of Change” to train farmers and grow the agricultural sector in an inclusive manner. The theory advocates for a co-existence of commercial and emerging farmers to promote the agricultural and food sectors on a new growth trajectory that can ultimately contribute to making South Africa’s economy out of the “Middle Income” trap. The conceptual framework for this Master Plan has been concluded, and the sector partners are to meet for consultation in June 2021. This Master Plan is complementary to the Poultry and Sugar Master Plans.

Cannabis Master Plan

The legalisation and commercialisation of Cannabis have been at the forefront of public debate and on top of the agenda of policymakers globally. An inter-departmental team comprising of representatives from various departments was established to guide the development of the National Cannabis Master Plan with DALRRD as the convener. The Cannabis Master Plan is being presented to NEDLAC before the end of May 2021.  The Department will, as of October 2021, begin issuing and monitoring permits for the production of hemp in South Africa.

Market access

The NAMC is currently driving research intelligence and trade and marketing policy advisories, and these are used for market access processes. In the past eleven months, the NAMC has advised the International Trade and Administration Commission (ITAC) on the optimal setting of tariffs, taking into account the impact on consumer prices and local production on poultry, sugar and wheat products. This year, working with the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and International Relations and Cooperation, we are devising measures to take full advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement and other multilateral and bilateral opportunities in the field of agricultural trade.

Strengthen governance and proper management of public resources

The process of strengthening governance in the Department and State-Owned Enterprises is proceeding, the new Boards at the Agricultural Research Council and Onderstepoort Biological Products, Perishable Products Export Control Board were put in place in 2020. Cabinet yesterday approved the appointment of the National Marketing Council. We wish to thank all those members who served us before for the work done. The work of these councils are critical in providing strategic direction of the work of the entries as well as provide oversight on behalf of the shareholder.

STRENGTHENING THE ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM

We have started to advertise in order to fill vacancies in the department following the finalization of the NMOG process. We have identified areas of weakness in the configuration of our newly formed department, which we will be addressing in the fit for purpose structure.

The matter of building the capacity of the State cannot be underestimated. We are examining the qualification of our staff following the announcement that was made by the Minister of Public Service and Administration, particularly at an SMS level. Minister of Public Service and administration issued a circular that instructs all SMS members to populate Personal so that correct data of the qualifications can be properly accounted for. As of this weak, we have noted that within our department we only have five members who are affected.

Building state capacity also means being able to implement consequence management where wrongdoing has occurred. We wish to assure members that we are acting and we will not hesitate to act so that public resources are accounted for and that the conduct of our officials is not questionable by citizens. We need to revive the ethos of Batho Pele once more in order to build a capable administrative system that is responsive to people’s needs.

Budget Allocation for 2021/22

Chairperson, the Department has an allocation of R16.9 billion budget for 2021/2022 financial year. A sizeable portion of this budget is for transfers to Provincial Departments of Agriculture as part of the division of revenue. These allocations relate to-

(a) Ilima/Letsema Conditional Grants – R 597 126 million;

(b) CASP Infrastructure Grant – R1 157 176 billion; and

(c) CASP Extension Services – R310 343 million.

The Commission of Land Restitution will receive a budget of R3, 3bn for 2021/22.

The other transfers are to our agricultural entities, such as the Agricultural Research Council, which received a grant of R1 282 632 billion. The National Agriculture Marketing Council received an amount of R47 305 million, and the Ingonyama Trust received an amount of R23 517 million.

I thank you.

Courtesy: www.gov.za

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Minister Didiza praises Illovo South Africa for life-changing development project

The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza has praised the sugar giant Illovo South Africa for the successful culmination of its R127-million life-changing Small-Scale Grower Cane Development Project that has created over 860 sustainable jobs in KwaZulu-Natal while empowering women to participate in the rural economy.

The Minister was visibly pleased after being taken on a site visit on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast to witness first-hand the development of 3 000 hectares of cane on communal land by small-scale growers using a sustainable model of development aligned to the national transformation agenda. With a R63-million grant from the National Treasury’s Job Fund matched by R63-million funding by Illovo Sugar South Africa, 119 local contractors have increased the supply of sugarcane for Illovo’s undersupplied Sezela factory by doubling the original 150 000 tonnes per annum forecast.

“The contribution of black commercial farmers in the country’s agricultural economy was still low and these low levels of inclusion call for serious intervention from both the Government and other stakeholders in driving inclusive growth” said Minister Didiza.

“We need more public-spirited players like Illovo Sugar who are willing to work with government in order to leverage our resources in the commercialisation of black farmers, while we ensure that we give meaningful support to those who are beneficiaries of land reform.”

The Minister added that after recognising different challenges constraining the growth and development of commercial and emerging farmers in the country, the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan (AAMP) had recommended the adoption of a “Theory of Change” to train farmers and grow the agricultural sector in an inclusive manner.

The theory advocates for a co-existence of commercial and emerging farmers to promote the agricultural and food sectors on a new growth trajectory that can ultimately contribute to taking South Africa’s economy out of the “Middle Income” trap.  The conceptual framework for this Master Plan has been concluded, and the sector partners are to meet for consultation in June 2021. This Master Plan is complementary to the Poultry and Sugar Master Plans.

Illovo Sugar MD Mamongae Mahlare said the Small-Scale Grower Cane Development Project is clear validation of the great potential that exists for partnerships between businesses and their host communities on the one hand, and government on the other, to reduce poverty and stimulate economic activity. “We could not have achieved this level of success alone. The confidence of the Jobs Funds which met us halfway with concessional funding, and the support of other stakeholders including the SA Canegrowers Association and the South African Farmers Development Association, have been integral to this revolutionary project.

“The collaborative multi-stakeholder approach to bring a local system of innovation to life in just three years has resulted in 1 704 growers being given the opportunity to develop cane on their land.”

Mahlare said the small-scale grower development project created direct jobs in rural communities while implementing socioeconomic and enterprise development initiatives and the transfer of valuable farming and business skills. By leveraging on the built capabilities and securing a spot in the Illovo Sugar value chain, communities will earn upwards of R80-million in income annually.

“Since the capacity to work the land resides within the communities in the form of the upskilled local contractors, there is a multiplier effect as this new money is spent within the community and is catalytic to broader economic activity,” she added.

Najwa Allie-Edries, head of the Jobs Fund who also attended the celebratory event, said building the capability of smallholder farmers must move beyond the debate about land ownership. The imperative now is to find creative solutions to long-term access to land, while providing appropriate support to build sustainable new-era farmer capability, she said.

“In spite of significant growth potential in the agricultural sector, opportunities and benefits are not widespread. The sector is characterised by a huge capacity gap between commercial and smallholder or emerging farmers, placing the latter in a disadvantageous position in terms of accessing opportunities, markets and value chains.

“Robust and localised agriculture and agro-processing systems are crucial for food security, economic diversification and creating jobs. Hence, more than 30% of the Jobs Fund’s portfolio of projects are implemented within the agricultural sector.

“Developing a sustainable sector means growing both the farm and the farmer and expanding the opportunities available to them. It can’t be one or the other; the same level of effort put into crop development must also be put into the farmer and his or her business.

“Illovo Sugar must be commended for reducing barriers to entry for emerging farmers and addressing challenges that hamper their ability to grow sustainably,” she said.

Nomanesi Ngcobo, a small-scale grower who was developed through the Illovo project told Minister Didiza that she took over her late husband’s role and sugarcane that had been planted years before was no longer growing.

She said: “The project came at a crucial time for us because the eMalangeni area had run out of sugarcane and many growers were struggling. Sugarcane farming is our bread and butter – it allows us to pay for our children’s education.

“This has been a life-changing experience and we are so grateful to Illovo Sugar for empowering us and enriching our lives.

“To be part of the cane grower’s community as a black woman makes me happy, especially having come from an impoverished background,” said Ngcobo.

What is the background of the project?

An under-supply of sugar cane into the South Coast mills necessitated action to be taken to re-establish sugar cane in the Small-Scale Grower areas that were lying fallow and within a close proximity to the affected mills. A sustainable development model was sought to ensure the future cane supply in the SSG areas.

What was the overall aim of the project?

To ensure equitable, inclusive and sustainable growth, leveraging sugarcane as a catalyst for rural development, while ensuring a secure supply to the Illovo mills. To this end, Illovo Sugar SA committed to:

  • Develop contiguous areas of tribal land to sugar cane
  • Develop and empower previously disadvantaged cane growers and contractors
  •  Create employment and contribute to development in the rural areas
  •  Create SMME service providers; and
  • Increase cane supply to the Illovo Sugar mills

What was initiated to address this problem?

In partnership with National Treasury through the Jobs Fund, Illovo Sugar SA initiated a project to develop up to 3 000 hectares of small-scale grower cane land around all the areas within which it operates on the KZN South Coast resulting in the creation of 1 188 new jobs and the training of 1 630 people.

What were some of the challenges to be overcome?

  • How to introduce economic activity on communal land
  • The high cost of entry and lack of suitable, continuous funding
  • Lack of grower and service provider capability

How was funding sourced?

Operating under the Department of Trade & Industry, the Jobs Fund was launched in June 2011 and an amount of R9 billion was set aside. The objective of the Jobs Fund is to co-finance projects by public, private and non-governmental organisations that will significantly contribute to job creation. This involves the use of public money to catalyse innovation and investment on behalf of a range of economic stakeholders in activities that contribute directly to enhanced employment creation in South Africa.

In partnership with the Jobs Fund which provided 50% of the R127-million capital, Illovo launched the project to develop 3,000ha of small-scale grower cane land whilst contributing to stimulating activities in deep rural areas, create sustainable employment for black growers and their families, and provide training opportunities for rural households. Illovo put up 15 % of the capital. The remaining 35% was taken as loans by the growers from MAFISA, with Illovo underwriting the debt. The project has created a thriving small-scale growers project on Ngonyama rust land.

Was the project a success?

Illovo’s Small-Scale Grower Cane Development Project is clear validation of the great potential that exists for partnerships between businesses and their host communities on the one hand, and government on the other, to reduce poverty and stimulate economic activity. The collaborative multi-stakeholder approach to bring a local system of innovation to life in just three years has resulted in 1 704 growers being given the opportunity to develop cane on their land.”

What are the outcomes of the project?

The Small-Scale Grower Cane Development Project has created direct jobs in rural communities while implementing socioeconomic and enterprise development initiatives and the transfer of valuable farming and business skills. By leveraging on the built capabilities and securing a spot in the Illovo Sugar value chain, communities will earn upwards of R80-million in income annually. Since the capacity to work the land resides within the communities in the form of the upskilled local contractors, there is a multiplier effect as this new money is spent within the community and is catalytic to broader economic activity.

Purpose of lllovo’s celebratory event

The event is planned to relate Illovo SA’s successes in contributing towards creating thriving rural communities through revealing how the joint programme has and can further act as a blue print for small-scale cane grower development in KZN as well as help other regions and sectors build thriving communities through similarly structured public and private partnerships.

What progress has Illovo made on land redistribution?

To date, Illovo’s own land redistribution initiative has resulted in the sale of 28 086 ha, comprising 55% of its own land portfolio, to black people and resulting in the establishment of more than 50 black commercial farmers.

Cite an example of a successful small-cane grower

Nomanesi Ngcobo took over her late husband’s role and sugarcane that had been planted years before was no longer growing. She said: “The project came at a crucial time for us because the eMalangeni area had run out of sugarcane and many growers were struggling. Sugarcane farming is our bread and butter – it allows us to pay for our children’s education. This has been a life-changing experience and we are so grateful to Illovo Sugar for empowering us and enriching our lives.”

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Deputy Minister Mcebisi Skwatsha: Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Dept Budget Vote 2021/22

13 May 2021

The month of May is recognised as Worker’s month globally. In our country, it’s also significant for another reason, on 10 May 1994 it was the inauguration of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela as the first President of the democratic government of South Africa.

On 08 May 1996 the Constitution was adopted by the Constitutional Assembly. Who can ever forget that occasion when former Deputy President then, Thabo Mbeki, delivered that seminal speech – “I am an African”?

Chairperson, whenever we discuss land reform or embark on activities that restore the rights to land, to previously dispossessed persons, we move from a point of departure which recognises that an injustice was committed against the indigenous majority and that our decisions and action should be deliberately and unapologetically designed to undo that situation.

We should not allow anyone, or any organisation to try twist the truth by attempting to make us feel bad for demanding what rightfully belongs to us.

During the Title Deed Handover ceremony to the community of Covie, Plettenberg Bay, I reminded the gathering about how, what His Excellency President Ramaphosa characterised as the “original sin” was committed, how land and livestock were brutally and forcefully taken away from the rightful owners as I narrated how Paul Kruger captures one battle in his Memoirs.

What we are doing is called justice,

What we are doing is restoring the dignity of the majority of South Africans, when such dignity is restored, we are sure we can find peace.

As former President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela reflected;

“returning land, which translates to wealth, back to the dispossessed majority, is an important task because it is one way of addressing the injustices of apartheid.”

All communities whose rights to their land have been restored through the Title Deeds Handover events recently we say to them, that is your land, enjoy the benefits that come with being landowners.

You now enjoy what is called security of tenure and keep it that way for generations to come.

Land Redistribution

Cabinet in December 2020 approved the Beneficiary Selection and Land Allocation Policy which is aimed at expediting the land allocation process which prioritizes women, youth, and persons with disabilities. The participation and protection of these vulnerable groups across the value GAaifl of our economy is critical. This Policy is already in the implementation phase within the various programmes of the Department.

In the 2020/21 financial year, the Department acquired 22 366 hectares of land for agricultural purposes. These included land for livestock, fruits, crops, forestry and game.

We have already allocated 16 198 hectares to deserving women and youth with most of these hectares, 11 866 hectares allocated to the youth. This allocation, supported by post settlement interventions will ensure transformation and sustainability of the sector, and importantly address the challenge of aging commercial farmers in our sector.

We are emboldened by the new developments and we will continue on this  trajectory, as we empower our communities albeit with reduced resources as there have been budget cuts to address the pandemic as we move towards economic reconstruction and recovery of our economy.

This financial year, the budget for Land Acquisition is R175-million and our plan is to acquire 33 720 hectares of land with this budget and through reprioritisation within the Pro-active Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS).

Tenure Reform

The Land Tenure reform programme is key in achieving the Constitutional promise entrenched in section 25(6) of the Constitution of the Republic.

“A person or community whose tenure to land is legally insecure as a result of past racially discriminatory  laws or practices is entitled, to the extent provided by an Act of Parliament, either to tenure which is legally secure or to comparable redress”

Farm workers, farm dwellers and labour tenants

The Land Reform (Land Tenants) Act No. 3 of 1996 (LTA) seeks to secure the tenure rights of labour tenants and former labour tenants, including by regulating their tenure and prohibiting illegal evictions.

Wherever, farm dwellers, farm workers, labour tenants and women have limited and vulnerable land rights, it is our responsibility as this department in conjunction with other departments such as Employment and Labour to take steps to correct such instances.

Although the provisions of The Extension of Security of Tenure Act (ESTA) have been strengthened we continue to receive reports of attempts to undermine this legislation.

The need for land in these areas varies and includes land for residence, land for cultivation, rituals, burial, and grazing of livestock. When these rights are not protected it may give rise to conflicts.

In giving effect to the provisions of the constitutional and the legislative mandate, the Department has prioritized the settlement of outstanding labour tenant claims. The Land Claims Court appointed the Special Master on Labour Tenants to work with the Department on expediting the settlement of these labour tenants’ claims.

The Department received 20 325 applications in seven (7) Provinces with the majority of claims emanating from KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga. To date, a total of 10 992 claims have been finalized, with 9 333 claims still outstanding. Working with the office of the Special Master, a Labour tenant implementation plan has been developed and approved by the Land Claims Court to address this injustice of the past.

During the past of 2020/21 financial year, a total of 200 labour tenants’ applications were finalized and the Department managed to acquire 7 128 hectares for labour tenants and farm dwellers to provide long term security of tenure to these groups of persons.

For the 2021/2022 financial year, the Department has set aside a budget R244 million for the acquisition  of land for Labour Tenants and farm dwellers, as well as to honour cases settled through court orders. This budget will be used to acquire 6150 hectares. The Department in conjunction with Office of the Special Master on Labour Tenants have targeted to finalise 1500 labour tenants claims in current financial year.

In recognising the multiplicity of challenges faced by farm workers, farm dwellers and labour tenants, the Department, working with Department of Justice and Legal Aid SA will continue to provide legal support and mediation services to persons facing unlawful evictions on farms.

Transformation of Certain Rural Areas Act (TRANCRAA)

Chairperson, the expeditious transfer of the 23 rural  areas as administered by the Transformation of Certain Rural Areas Act of 1998, is continuing apace. These areas previously classified as coloured reserves are in four provinces in South Africa. The land in these areas is held in trust for the respective communities.

The process of transferring this land in consultation with the affected communities and municipalities is advancing at a faster pace. In the past financial year, we have transferred Haarlem, Mamre and the biggest portion of Ebenhaeser. We are currently busy with transfer documents for Kranshoek, Zoar and Slangrivier as part of the 11 areas to be finalised in this financial year. The other remaining areas are at an advanced stage of implementation and all transfers will be completed in the 2022/23 financial year.

Communal  Land Tenure

Communal land tenure remains a key component of Land Tenure Reform. Communal areas are home to approximately 17 million people. The people living in communal areas mostly hold informal land tenure rights that are not recorded due to the collapse of land administration in the former homelands and other rural spaces.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Agriculture and Land Reform is guiding on processes in this most important and sensitive area. Our Department, working with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional  Affairs, the Department of Justice  is embarking on a consultation process with all stakeholders, including Traditional Leadership organisations and communities. The consultations will culminate in a National Land Summit, to be convened in September 2021.

Rural Safety

One of the significant threats to food security and livelihoods of our people in rural and farming areas is rural safety. Our country has recently experienced various challenges including high levels of criminality and human rights violations. Incidents reported to law enforcement authorities include murder, public violence and damage to property, racism, land invasion, unlawful eviction and stock theft.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Agriculture and Land Reform lead by the Honourable Deputy President, has established a Task Team consisting of Department of Agriculture, Land reform and Rural Development, South African Police Service, Department of Human Settlement, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and SALGA to develop an integrated rapid response strategy. This plan with intervention measures has since been approved by the IMC. These interventions will open dialogue amongst various role players and stakeholders, including farmer’s associations and farm dwellers to curb these conflicts, evictions, farm murders and bring peace and stability in these areas.

We also continue to support the Rural Safety Plan led by the Ministry of Police.

Community Property Associations (CPAs)

The Department is grappling with the challenges facing Communal Property institutions. We will continue to ensure the CPAs are capacitated and supported to be compliant with the Act, within the means available to us. The Department will also embark on an Audit of all CPAs over a period of two years starting in this financial year, with a view to review the models of land holding for Land reform.

Currently, more than 1 500 CPAs have been established and registered nationally. In the past financial year, I mentioned that we are going to support 477 CPAs however due to difficult circumstances due to COVID-19, we were able to support 436 CPAs. In this financial year we intend to support 577 CPAs to be compliant with the Act and to strengthen oversight.

National Spatial Development Framework

Chapter 8 of the National Development Plan calls for preparation of a ‘National Spatial Development Framework (NDSF)’ which is to be reviewed every 5 years. The IMC on Land and Agriculture is currently reviewing the NSDF, with a target of framing and coordinating provincial, regional and municipal Spatial Development Frameworks. This approach will ensure that there is guidance in planning, budgeting and implementation across spheres and between sectors of government.

Land Reform Bills

We are pleased that the ULTRA Amendment Bill has been approved by the NCOP and on the other hand, the Communal Land Tenure Bill has also reached the stage of  Public Consultations. Furthermore, we are processing the Deeds Registries Amendment Bill, through the clusters of government with the aim of improving and enhancing the application and implementation of the current Act.

Restitution

The Commission had an original budget of R3, 6 bn which was reduced to R3.3 billion for 2021.22 financial year after a reprioritization process by National Treasury.

In view of the over 8 000 claims remaining to be settled and finalized (excluding the new order claims), the MTEF allocations remain woefully inadequate. There is a need for increased budgetary allocations, especially considering that the remaining claims are mainly rural and more complex

The Commission is projecting to settle 240 claims and finalise 316 claims in 2021/22.

With budget allowing, the Commission is projecting to increase the settlement of claims significantly with 558 and 549 claims being settled in 2022/23 and 2023/24 respectively.

While the Commission has met its 2020/21 annual performance targets in respect of settlement and Finalised claims, performance on the settlement of claims is, and will be adversely affected by the reductions in the budget of the Commission – Impacting negatively the settlement and finalisation of claims.

We are working with the Auditor General’s office to establish restitution as a separate entity as prescribed by the Act, with its own APP and financial statements, the technical task team has been established that will take the process forward and ensure that the commission becomes autonomous , consultation with various stakeholders have started , the draft business case is in place and the research strategy was developed.

Office of the Valuer General (OVG)

This office continues to capacitate it’s different business units in order to deliver on the set targets. Key senior management posts have been attended to as well as the appointment of ten valuers.

For 2021/22 the budget allocation is R131 844 000.

We intend to eliminate the valuation backlog completely in 2021/22 financial year.

An Enterprise Resource Planning Solution (IT System) will be implemented.

In the past financial year the Minister has established a Ministerial Advisory Committee to review the Property Valuation Act (Act 17 of 2014) and the team has produced a report for consideration by the Minister.

Ingonyama Trust Board (ITB)

The lngonyama Trust Act vested 2.8 million hectares of communal land to the lngonyama Trust Board (ITB), the ITB accounts to the department and to parliament. We are assisting the ITB to address its operational and cooperate governance challenges.

We want to see a situation where there is stability in the senior management.

Conclusion

The road will not be easy, we will encounter challenges, but we will overcome them and move on in making sure that south Africans have access to land.

UMHLABA MAWUBUYELE  EBANTWINI    !!!

I thank you

Courtesy: www.gov.za

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Western Cape Agriculture assists farmers in drought-stricken areas

11 May 2021

Farmers in drought stricken area receive fodder support

One thousand one hundred and fifteen farmers located in critical and extremely critical drought-stricken areas eligible for drought relief received fodder support in April 2021, to the value of R12.2 million.

According to the Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Ivan Meyer,  based on the latest bi-annual veld assessment completed in March 2021, the Western Cape Department of Agriculture has categorised the veld as critical or extremely critical in parts of the Central Karoo, Garden Route and West Coast Districts.

Meyer: “The veld conditions in many parts of the Central Karoo have deteriorated.  The veld in Little Karoo is currently in an arid condition, with critically dry areas. Conditions in the Matzikama Local Municipality have not changed much since the 2020 assessment. The area is still in extremely critical condition. The veld condition in the Mossel Bay and Hessequa Local Municipalities is currently in a dry condition having received below-average rainfall.”

Meyer highlights that it will need at least three years of above-average rainfall for the veld to recover from the devastating drought.

“In the interim, we encourage farmers to adopt sustainable farming practices. Further support is provided by offering workshops to assist farmers in introducing disaster risk reduction methodologies and practices on their farms.  By doing so, we prepare farmers for future disaster episodes impacted by climate change,” concludes Meyer.

courtesy: www.gov.za

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Overcoming the obstacles in the way of Africa’s female farmers

By Bonolo Sophie Maqeba, CEO of Black Women Empowered 

Hailing from Ficksburg, a small town in South Africa’s Free State province, I come from very humble beginnings. Raised by parents who made enormous sacrifices daily, the value of hard work was instilled in me and my three siblings from a very young age. My parents used to say: “We are not rich and we can’t leave you any legacy, but we will give you the little that we have so that you can be educated, and in that way you will be independent enough to work your way up in life.” 

Fast forward to today, and I hold a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Agriculture and am the CEO of Black Women Empowered, an agriculture-focused organisation that I started, after coming to terms with South Africa’s unemployment crisis. 

My inspiration comes from the love I have for my children and the fear that they should not suffer or be job seekers for the rest of their lives. It has always been my vision to leave a legacy for my children. 

Venturing into the agricultural industry, I witnessed and experienced four main challenges.  

I saw that Africa’s women farmers are faced with massive challenges when it comes to accessing land – a critical resource. Even when they do secure land, they face tough tenure systems that are often influenced by biased customary norms and traditions built on the basis of social differentiation and inequality. These systems hinder the growth of Africa’s agricultural production, exacerbate poverty, and contribute to the exclusion of rural women. 

Weak access to finance is another major hurdle faced by women in agriculture. Credit is an effective tool that enables investments and expansion, and that allows farmers to overcome seasonal issues – a considerable lag occurs between the time they incur costs and the time that they are able to generate income from their produce. 

The next challenge is access to information and training. The participation of women in training programmes tends to be low due to a lack of awareness, societal barriers in the form of discriminatory cultural norms, and transportation barriers. 

Finally, the division of labour on the basis of gender is common practice in Africa’s agricultural sector. Women tend to be mainly involved in the production of lower-value subsistence crops. It could be because they have different preferences and concerns, or because they have limited access to land, inputs, credit, information, or markets. In many instances, those that have access to markets are exploited and fetch lower prices than their male counterparts. 

With this in mind, I joined the UN Women- and Standard Bank-backed Climate Smart Agricultural programme (UNCSA). I was driven by the need to find solutions to these pervasive challenges, as well as new challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. The UNCSA programme strengthened my belief that agriculture and digital technology are the backbone of the economy. 

Prior to joining the programme, I was planting on two hectares of land, and was making small profits due to a lack of resources. A year down the line, my business has grown substantially. I have learned important tricks of the trade, from effective storage for export goods to ensuring that fresh produce is sold quickly to avoid losses. And I want to explore future business opportunities in agro-processing and exports as I grow the business and expand it into the rest of Africa.  

The programme has further fuelled my passion for agriculture. I remain steadfast in my beliefs and continue to draw strength from those women in my family who have shaped me and enabled me to be where I am today. 

My grandmother, Paulina Vollenhoven, raised me and looked after me when my parents were at work. She instilled in me the values and principles that I have today, and she taught me to challenge myself and male-dominated industries – because we can do what they can if given a chance.  

My mother, Flora Vollenhoven, is my pillar of strength. She sacrificed everything to give me a good education and has been with me through my deepest pains and darkest times of struggle. She cheers me on, prays for me, and encourages me to do more every day. I am because she has been. 

I am deeply grateful to them and to myself – Sophie Bonolo Maqeba. I have endured countless struggles and have worked hard to achieve my dreams. I have picked myself up every time I have fallen, I have been brave and outspoken, and I have relentlessly chased my dreams while also single-handedly raising my wonderful children. I plan to leave a legacy rooted in agriculture and the transformation of an industry. 

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