R100m fund to help small fisheries grow

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana says the announcement of a R100 million development fund, sponsored by private sector companies, is set to help small fisheries players who have challenges with access to funding. 

The Minister briefed media in Cape Town on Thursday after tabling the department’s Budget Vote speech in the National Assembly on Wednesday. 

“Our understanding is that they are going to make sure that when these small-scale fishermen and women receive their fishing rights – as we are going to launch the small-scale fisheries policies – sometimes they are not able to exercise their rights to go and fish because of access to funding. 

“The aim then is to make it easier… We want to make sure that more funding is availed by the private sector and we believe that it is a very good gesture that they have done to make sure that fishing communities can participate,” he said. 

Delivering the Budget Vote in Parliament on Wednesday, Zokwana said the fund would ensure that government empowers small businesses entering the fishing industry in order to truly revitalise the Oceans Economy. 

“Government has invested considerably in agriculture to create a favourable and supportive environment for the farming community, particularly subsistence and smallholder producers. 

“This includes the support provided by the development financial institutions (DFIs). However, this support has not translated into meaningful participation of black producers in the agricultural, forestry and fisheries value chains. As a result, these sectors remain untransformed over 20 years into our democracy.” 

Zokwana said this meant that more focus should be given not only to support smallholder production, but to increase the number of black commercial producers. 

“Therefore, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) -- with the assistance of the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), Land Bank, National Empowerment Fund (NEF) and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) -- developed a programme to commercialise black producers in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors.  

“This is an incentive based programme that will provide access for small, medium and large scale black producers in these sectors,” he said. 

Zokwana said the Land Bank has been identified as the grant fund administrator and will, together with commercial banks, provide the loan portion of the funds required to commercialise these producers. 

Measures to mitigate the spread of Listeriosis 

Zokwana said, meanwhile, that the recent Listeriosis outbreak has led to a decline in the prices of pork in the market and prices are lower than the input cost margins for the producers. 

He said the decline in prices has the potential to also affect the red meat and poultry sectors. 

“In addressing the Listeriosis matter, I visited the Tiger Brands facility in Polokwane in March this year and have noted the plan of action devised to address the outbreak. 

“I have subsequently had constructive engagements with industry on this matter to mitigate the potential spread of the disease, which adversely impacts our local pork producers, specifically black smallholder farmers. 

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the [department’s] entities for their tireless work in advancing research and innovation to develop new vaccines that will address a number of diseases, including new strains. 

“During the current financial year, we intend to strengthen our bio security measures in order to increase our competitiveness as we seek to find new markets,’ he said. – SAnews.gov.za