Report by Kwazulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala to the KZN legislature on plans and progress towards women’s access to land and participation in agriculture and rural economies, Pietermaritzburg
Fifteen (15) refrigerated trucks and ten (10) vans were procured to assist farmers to be able to move their produce. This was to ensure that produce is transported safely, properly and delivered in good condition.
- Since the inception of RASET programme, over 3500 farmers have been assisted to access both public and private sector markets.
- Seventy-five (75) percent of these farmers are disadvantaged women and youth from rural areas like Umkhanyakude, King Cetshwayo, Ilembe, Harry Gwala, Ugu, Uthukela, uMzinyathi, eThekwini, and uMgungundlovu.
- In the first three months of implementing the programme, farmers were able to sell their produce to the value of R44 Million. Much of this demand is from the School Nutrition Programme.
- We are aware of the disruption and the adverse impact created by the COvVID-19 pandemic to our small scale farmers.
Through the RASET programme, we mitigated the situation by assisting our HDI famers to access market for their produce.
- In the Dukuduku area, about 200 female famers were assisted with market access. They successfully sold their banana produce at the value R4 million to National School Nutrition Programme. Before this intervention, these farmers did not have proper market for their produce, resulting to most of it getting rotten in the field or eaten by wild animals such as monkeys.
- Since the April 2020 lockdown till to date, about 200 famers were able to sell their produce at a value of R7 Million.
- Some of these markets opportunities arose, for instance, due to the reduction in the import of some of agricultural commodities like beans.
- We insist as government that these opportunities should not last only during lockdown but should continue even after lockdown. Working with Department of Agriculture and EDTEA, we should create dedicated support for these niche commodities to be able to meet demand even post Covid-19. We should ensure that government leads by example by buying these commodities like beans from our women farmers in particular.
- Numerous private markets have been secured through the RASET programme because of its model where produce are aggregated and delivered on time.
- Partnerships with some of the private sector businesses have been entered into to coordinate and enhance the programme and sharing of skills and resources. The main partners are Dr John Langalibalele Dube Institute, UKZN, and the Land Bank.
- We have successfully capacitated and included four additional districts to the programme. These are Ugu, uMzinyathi, uMgungundlovu, and Thukela. Through RASET, we seek to change the socio-economic status of women in these additional districts.
Future plans for the RASET programme
- Moving forward, there are plans to install agro-processing equipment in all DDAs for cleaning, sorting, grading packaging and weighing. These facilities will also assist in adding value to the primary produce.
- There are plans to construct a Banana ripening and storage facility in uMkhanyakude.
Honourable Members, addressing the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) yesterday, the KZN leader of Government Business and MEC for EDTEA, the Honourable N Dube-Ncube, outlined plans to support SMMEs and co-operatives in the Oceans Economy.
She mentioned KZN’s plan to bring on small black players to be involved in aquaculture farming in municipalities along the coast. As we speak, KZN is establishing fishing processing facilities along the entire coastline for 43 fishing communities. All these plans on the oceans economy should do more to bring on board women from the rural areas. They must also participate in fish processing and the entire value chain in the maritime sector.