Govt to launch Food and Nutrition Security Council
STELLENBOSCH – The agricultural sector has welcomed plans by government to establish a national Food and Nutrition Security Council.
This will provide a platform for the agricultural sector, business and government to discuss issues of affecting the industry.
The Agriculture Minister made the announcement in Stellenbosch on Thursday, at the first Agri Sector Unity Forum.
Of particular concern in the sector is food security, water and land reform.
Agriculture minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson says change can now be expected in the way issues in the sector are dealt with.
“They would have a direct voice to the presidency whether it is the deputy president or the president. They form part of the presidency. This gives the sector a direct link and open door to the presidency and to the highest decision making body of government.”
Agri SA is pleased by the announcement.
“We think that this will be a very positive development to have the necessary contact with the presidency at the highest level to consult and to make decisions on how to take the primary agriculture as well as secondary agriculture, … in fact the whole agro food complex forward to ensure that the nutritional status of all South Africans are improved,” said Johannes Moller of Agri SA.
Government says land reform is a priority, and it’s currently on a drive to put thousands of hectares of un-utilized, communal land into production.
“In the next five years we have to put a million hectors into production,” said Joemat-Pettersson.
“We cannot have land lying fallow while people are unemployed and while people are hungry,” she added.
“So the aim for government is to address unemployment, the inequalities between commercial farmers and subsistent famers and creating jobs.”
Industry players say they will use the policies discussed at this forum as a blue print for the way forward in the agricultural sector.