Helping farmers grow
The South African mainstream economy continues to exclude participation of Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDIs), that is, farmers as a result of apartheid laws which were seen to be skewed towards historically advantaged individuals (HAIs). The effect of the latter assertion continues to be felt by the majority in the post-apartheid South Africa; hence, the widening gap between the rich and the poor.
On the 29th of December 2015, delegates from government and private sectors met and expressed a desire for change and integration of government programs with an aim of creating a platform for Historically Disadvantaged Individuals to participate in the food value chains (production, processing, marketing and distribution). The mechanism for Historically Disadvantaged Individuals to participate in the food value chain was formed and named Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation (RASET) – a model of integrating government programs in pursuit of socio-economic change. Its primary aim is to consolidate programs in various departments to achieve high developmental impact, promote collaboration at various levels, promote access to markets, increase the efficient use of government resources and increase the participation of rural communities and historically disadvantaged farmers to gain access and participate fully in food value chains.
According to Statistics South Africa, the envisaged food value chain is in excess of R439 billion per annum in consumption terms at National level, with KZN accounting for approximately R76 billion thereof. About 57% is supplied by the big five retail chain stores. Black South African producers remain non-participants in the share of this market.
The Executive Council made a decision to open access to 50% of the KZN Government’s R2.5 billion demand for food in favour of the RASET Programme. This is equivalent to 3.3% of the GDP of KwaZulu-Natal.
RASET aims at developing strategic partnerships to leverage access to private markets and increase 3.3% to about 50% within the next five to ten years. In addition to the Government market an alternative Food Production Chain should be developed in the medium to long term
uMgungundlovu Economic Development Agency (UMEDA) was tasked to act as a managing agent of RASET within uMgungundlovu District.
UMEDA will implement sound governance processes, as well as controls over the procurement, custody and issue of fresh produce in order to limit financial losses. The UMEDA will also implement sound financial and administrative controls over the management of the program and ensure that procurement is done on a value-for-money basis and that risks are adequately managed.
The UMEDA will also ensure that emerging farmers are paid within 5 working days- so as to ensure the sustainability of these operations.
Operationally the process for the emerging farmers will follow this process:
- UMEDA will assist the emerging farmer to access vital inputs to plant crops
- UMEDA will follow up and visit the emerging farmers and mentor them on an on-going process
- UMEDA will communicate with the emerging farmers regularly and receive updates on expected dates for harvesting
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