The Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs
Ensuring Sustainable Livelihoods
The main aims of the Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs are to create a globally competitive agricultural sector and a sustainable environment in the Province. In pursuing its vision the Department has made great strides in interventions aimed at attaining increased economic growth and development in the Province.
Our Province is rich with potential in the agricultural sector. The diverse bio-climatic regions and the topography of our province allows for virtually any crop to be grown somewhere, which makes the province of KwaZulu-Natal "a world in one". Apart from the bioclimatic regions, the Province also enjoys the advantages of having relatively high rainfall, moderate to subtropical temperatures, access to markets, export facilities and a growing economy. We believe that this is the sector that can drive economic growth and create massive employment opportunities.
More than 35 per cent of the population of KwaZulu-Natal is vulnerable to food insecurity. Limited agricultural diversification, low agricultural production in some areas where many people live, high unemployment, poverty, constraints to food distribution, lack of information skills and awareness and poor nutrition and health status all contribute to this problem. Our mandate is to unlock the market potential of agricultural commodities, create sustainable SMMEs and co-operatives, whilst ensuring that there is job creation and, not least, food security in our communities.
Agrarian Revolution Strategy
A priority will be to re-focus the Agrarian Revolution Strategy in line with the sustainable socio-economic development initiatives and provincial priorities.
An integrated programme involving departments in all spheres of government, will:
Focus on subsistence farmers in urban and rural settings;
Create programmes for commercial agricultural operations involving larger areas of communal land;
Attend to State land on lease, farms acquired through land restitution and emerging farmers from disadvantaged communities, and
Focus on the creation of partnerships with successful commercial farmers.
Subsistence farmers will be supported by the provision of capacity building, extension services and advice, supply seeds and fertilizers, and assistance in fencing.
The Department also intends supporting commercial farmers with vital market intelligent information and linking them with agribusiness and investment opportunities. In this manner, the Department will address the needs of all stakeholders. Furthermore, the Department has placed very high on its agenda, and in line with the Apex Priorities, the need to strengthen the co-operatives development programme.
Co-operatives will be assisted through credit schemes to grow their operations using financial development institutions (FDI's) such as Ithala, to ensure sustainability. On the base of the revived co-operative movement, the government will re-launch the mechanisation programme to supply tractors and other agricultural implements. The Department will also focus on youth and women, as well as other vulnerable groups, in all of its programmes.
Our strategy recognises that a majority of the people in the Province do not possess the necessary skills to be migrated from entrant farmers to, at best, exporters. Consequently, the Department has to embark on an intensive training programme to ensure that the relevant skills are imparted.
Main Focus Areas
The Department’s focus will be on the following main areas:
Protection of high potential agricultural land for commercial production of high value perishable produce destined for export, and purchase of some of this land for land reform beneficiaries;
Development of agricultural potential, making use of opportunities created by DubeTradePort;
Development of sugar cane, banana and macadamia production opportunities on land with potential;
Development of livestock farming opportunities, working with livestock Associations;
Adopting an industry approach to the mushroom programme working with the Department ofTransport in targeting Zibambele Savings Club;
Intensifying our massification programme, focusing on corridors with high growth potential;
Alignment of land reform initiative with opportunities presented by the Ugu Fresh Produce Market; and
Expansion of agri-processing capabilities and capacities to allow for new entrants to commercial agriculture.
Protection of the Environment
South Africa, as a developmental state, faces a number of socio-economic challenges which need to be addressed within a short space of time – this puts significant pressure on the use of natural resources and interferes with environmental decision-making. There is also an observed trend of unsustainable development and poor decision-making related to trade-offs (balance between environment and development).As a result, there is a need to control / prevent unsustainable development through policy and legislative measures. To deal with this challenge, the sector will ensure that the environment is considered in all planning and development processes in a rigorous manner that supports alignment and effective use of resources. Environmental issues must be strengthened in provincial and local government planning initiates.
As a province, people are becoming more aware of the rights of the environment as well their rights to an environment that is not harmful to them. The Province of KwaZulu-Natal recognises that the environment must be protected against air pollution and other hazardous substances to ensure sustainability for future generations. The Department will continue to empower the citizens of the province, especially the children, to both ensure that we have a safe and healthy environment to live in. Furthermore, the Department wants to widen the scope of environmental management beyond that of regulatory and compliance by introducing initiatives towards environmental development that will improve the environmental outlook of the Province and contribute to economic growth and sustainable development.
The Departmental environmental flagship programmes are as follows, namely:
Fast tracking Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process
Intensification of Invasive Alien Species Programme
Agriculture, Environmental Affairs & Rural Development MEC Meshack Radebe
Agriculture, Environmental Affairs & Rural Development HOD Dr Sizwe Mkhize
Nature of Business: KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs: Agriculture and Environmental Management.
A champion for prosperous agriculturally productive land use, food security and environmentally sustainable livelihoods. The Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs will provide quality agricultural, veterinary, environmental and conservation services together with our partners and communities.
MEC: MEC Dr Meshack Radebe
Head of Department: Dr Sizwe Mkhize
Postal Address:Private Bag X9059, Pietermaritzburg, 3200 Tel: +27 033 355 9100 Fax: +27 033 355 9122
Office of the MEC
Tel: +27 033-343 8240 Fax: +27 033-343 8255 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Postal Address: Private Bag X9059, Pietermaritzburg, 3200