Budget Speech: Food Security an absolute priority

Foods_(cropped)From the South African Press Association

Food security remains a top priority, with 1000 farms set to benefit from a recapitalisation and development programme, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene announced on Wednesday.

Tabling his first main budget, for 2015/16, in the National Assembly, he said government planned to acquire 1.2 million hectares of land in the next three years, with R4.7 billion allocated for developing farms.

Fetsa Tlala, government’s 2012-2017 food security strategy, encouraged smallholder farmers to produce food for subsistence consumption.

Farming advice and financial support would be provided to smallholders through a projected R7bn conditional allocation to provinces over the medium-term.

The agriculture, forestry, and fisheries department’s total budget for 2015/16 was R6.38bn.

Nene said R296 million had been allocated to “support the oceans economy”.

“This will enhance our climate change research and management of ocean resources,” he said.

According to the 2015 Estimates of National Expenditure, the small-scale fisheries policy would be developed and implemented by 2019/20.

The department also aimed to develop and implement the fishing rights allocation process framework for commercial fishing sectors by 2019.

Former fisheries minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson announced last year that the fishing rights allocation process and its decisions and outcomes would be set aside following the results of an independent audit report she commissioned on the process.