Training & Development
There is a sense of relief in Gauteng as the Vaal dam eventually reached the 100% capacity milestone at the beginning of March. Official news of the end of water restrictions has yet to be announced. My hope is that the citizens of Gauteng realise how fortunate we were to get sufficient rains and that there are still areas in the country, specifically in the Western Cape, that face major restrictions due to their dams drying up. Lifting restrictions is by no means a license to waste and the use of water should continually be respected.
Awareness of online fraud
Over the last couple of weeks there has been an increase in the number of people contacting SAPA to check the legitimacy of online supplier websites. The good news is that people are becoming aware of these activities and taking time to follow up with SAPA before making payments. The unintended consequence of online fraudsters becoming known and losing business will result in a proliferation of different websites developed to try scam more people. Be on your guard and spread the message that these sites need to be verified.
AGRISETA recently held a 2 day SSC workshop during which the various sub-sector groups were asked in the plenary session to compile a summary of the state of training in their sectors, opportunities and challenges. What is clear across many sectors are 3 main areas of concern - the depreciation of the currency, the effects of the drought, and uncontrolled imports. All these are major obstacles across the various agricultural commodity groups. This does not bode well for our agriculture sector and urgent action needs to be taken to stem the flows of imports.
SAPA meetings and member resolutions
The first round of SAPA Committee meetings has almost concluded. In March, the Egg and Broiler Organisations will meet followed by the SAPA Board meeting on 21 April. During the Board meeting, resolutions tabled by members for Congress are discussed. Should you wish to table a resolution, please forward it to email@example.com.
Operation Phakisa to transform agricultural sector
The government has unveiled the Operation Phakisa segment that focuses on agriculture, land reform and rural development. This segment is meant to enhance and transform the agricultural sector while accelerating land reform. The programme was unveiled by President Jacob Zuma in Roodeplaat, Pretoria, under the theme ‘Transforming the Agricultural Sector towards an Inclusive Rural Economy’.
The programme will review existing producer support models and develop finance models aimed at fast-tracking land reform, given the urgent need for government to make progress in food security. The programme seeks to address constraints in ensuring equitable access to land, both towards economic development and agrarian transformation.
“As I mentioned in the State of the Nation Address, government will pursue a number of programmes this year aimed towards land reform and land redistribution, all within the Constitution of the country,” said President Zuma. “We have no doubt that this landmark Operation Phakisa on agriculture, land reform and rural development will assist us in this regard.”
In preparation for the launch, the DAFF and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform embarked on a six-month consultation process on the Operation Phakisa Lab. The lab, which constitutes representatives from government, academic and research institutions as well as business, organised labour, private sector and nongovernmental organisations, has finalised 27 initiatives across seven work streams. These include land reform, rural development, labour, grains, livestock, horticulture and producer support.
These work streams, according to the presidency, will assist in optimising the management of natural resources, developing skills and capacity in the agricultural sector, stimulate funding and finance, value chain development and market access, coordination and knowledge management as well as reconfiguring space and promoting functional rural settlement.
The Operation Phakisa programme is modelled around the Malaysian Big Fast Results methodology. It is used by the government to intensively focus on a particular sector, bringing together government, business, labour, and academia to dissect and find solutions to delivery problems. The programme has successfully been implemented in education, health, and the ocean economy.¡
This is an edited version of an article that first appeared on the Bizcommunity website on 24 February 2017