09.03.2012

Budget praised for reference to agriculture

“I don’t think I’ve heard ‘agriculture’ mentioned so many times in a budget before.”

This was the reaction of Dr John Purchase, CEO of the Agricultural Business Chamber, to the minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan’s, recent budget speech at a media briefing. “The budget had a strong developmental and redistributive focus.”

André Jooste, from the National Agricultural Marketing Council agreed: “The infrastructure budget (of government) will increase by less than the budget on social grants. We’ll need to find ways to address this.”

“I don’t think I’ve heard ‘agriculture’ mentioned so many times in a budget before.”

This was the reaction of Dr John Purchase, CEO of the Agricultural Business Chamber, to the minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan’s, recent budget speech at a media briefing. “The budget had a strong developmental and redistributive focus.”

André Jooste, from the National Agricultural Marketing Council agreed: “The infrastructure budget (of government) will increase by less than the budget on social grants. We’ll need to find ways to address this.”

sword”, according to Ernst Janovsky, head of Absa Agribusiness. “On the one hand, grants reduce work ethics as people are rather dependent on the government. It is not sustainable for six million people (taxpayers) to carry 16 million people (grant beneficiaries).”

Food stamps for beneficiaries rather than cash payouts made should be bought as the stamps would stimulate food production and lessen abuse of grants.

With regards to funds for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Gordhan budgeted R5,79 billion for 2012/2013 against a revised R4,96 billion in 2011/2012.

“There is still only 0,6% of the total budget going to agriculture,” Jooste said. “It is not enough to uplift the backbone of rural communities.”

Aggrey Mahanjana, managing director of the National Emergent Red Meat Producers’ Organisation, said the budget speech “was very, very silent on rural development and land reform”.

Jooste said it was “worrying” that there was no mention of the budget allocation to land reform. “We know that the budget was the big issue for land reform over the last couple of years.”

Mike Mlengana, president of the African Farmers’ Association of SA, was also concerned about the lack of reference to land reform funding. “Emerging farmers are, however, concerned about rural infrastructure development and acceleration of land reform.”
 
The total budget allocation to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform will increase from R8,13 billion for 2011/2012 to R8,88 billion in 2012/2013. Money for restitution will increase from R2,497 billion in 2011/2012 to R3 billion in 2012/2013.

The budget allocation for land reform, “to initiate sustainable land reform programmes in South Africa” will increase marginally from R3,27 billion in 2011/2012 to R3,28 billion in 2012/2013.

Commentators had mixed reactions towards the proposed financing of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. Government will fund R5,75 billion of the R20 billion project bill. The toll fee was more than halved from the proposed 66c/km to the current 30c/ km with a monthly cap of R550 per vehicle. Heavy vehicles will receive a discount of up to 20% during off-peak hours. Gordhan called this mix of financing incentives a “very generous compromise”.

Article source: www.farmersweekly.co.za

Copyright © 2018 by Agricultural Business Chamber