The Department of Agriculture has been accused of mismanagement after a R3.1bn agricultural programme designed to develop 300,000 small-scale farmers and create 145,000 agro-processing jobs came to a halt with infrastructure broken, stolen or vandalised.
In this programme the government committed to building 44 Agri-Parks in districts across South Africa.
DA TO SUBMIT PAIA APPLICATION
DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Annette Steyn said that the party is going to submit a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application to the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) regarding the R3.1 billion Agri-Parks Programme.
“We need to know the state and progress of all 44 parks, how much money has already been spent, and how it was spent. A list of all farmers that benefitted from these farmer support units or Agri-Parks must also be provided as a matter of urgency, so that the necessary oversight can be undertaken.
“South Africa is littered with projects like these which are wonderful on paper and makes for great photo opportunities when they are launched, but are then left to fall apart without any beneficial development for local communities.”
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE SPENDS 33M ON NEGLECTED PARK
Over four years, the past four years, the Department of Agriculture has spent R33 million on an Agri-Park in Westonaria in Gauteng that has been neglected and is broken-down.
The project was a golden opportunity to uplift the local community through food production and job creation, but once again people have been let down by government.
According to Steyn, there is a similar project in Dutywa in the Eastern Cape, whereby the local community had not even been informed as to the purpose of the structures, so it came as no surprise that they had not benefited from the project.
“A complete lack of political will, questionable spending, and projects for which the Department has nothing to show point to a serious problem in the Department of Agriculture.”