Marine Resources Central in Economy
Operation Phakisa is expected to place marine resources centrally in the economy, says Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana. According to the South African Government News Agency, Operation Phakisa is aimed at fast-tracking the delivery of the priorities outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP), which is the country’s blueprint for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality.
According to the minister, the fisheries sector forms an important element of the Ocean Economy Strategy, Operation Phakisa. With Operation Phakisa, it is planned to grow aquaculture sector value from R2 billion to up to R6 billion, with potential job creation of up to 210 000 by 2030. Minister Zokwana further indicated that transformation of the fisheries sector remains a critical element in addressing job creation and radical economic transformation.
“The fishing rights allocation process (FRAP) of 2013 has been reviewed independently of the Department, and the Ministry has received the final report. Consultations with the State Attorney’s office on the legal feasibility of the various options to institute corrective measures where weaknesses have been identified, are in progress,” he said, and committed to making an announcement in due course on the path to correct these anomalies. The implementation of the small-scale fishing policy will be the second element of transformation to ensure that coastal and fishing communities gain access to marine resources.
The minister further pointed out that achieving food security for all citizens is a non-negotiable priority. He said he was pleased with the decrease in the number of households experiencing hunger, as shown by the 2013 General Household Survey: “The percentage of households that experienced hunger decreased by 16% between 2002 and 2013.” However, the minister emphasised that, while the achievements revealed in the General Household Survey continue to be the result of social grants, government must strive to ensure that the agricultural food economy increasingly contributes to decreasing levels of food insecurity.
Provincial departments such as the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform was able to increase the number of hectares planted from 7 000 in 2012 to 13 000 hectares in 2013. The Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, for its part, planted a total of 1 000 hectares of crop land, which yielded 9 300 tons of maize, wheat, grapes and rooibos tea. In Gauteng, through the Ilima/Letsema Fund, 25 000 beneficiaries were reached. In the Free State, Mohoma Mabung supported 6 500 beneficiaries, while Mpumalanga’s Masibuyele Emasimini reached 39 600 beneficiaries.
“Unless these achievements contribute to sustainable rural economies, our interventions are unsustainable and [have] little impact if any on the lives of our people. Our interventions must therefore lead to the growth of the sector, and, in turn, to rural economic development,” said the minister. Agriculture’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) is approximately 2.7%, which is generally viewed as far below the capacity of the sector and the levels of agricultural production aimed to be achieved by 2030.
CASE IN POINT | SAMSA
by Andrew Ngozo