Sustainability and Economic Impact of Agricultural Cooperatives and Post-Settlement Farmer Support (Land reform projects such as RECAP): Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries briefing
The Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources was briefed by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) on its Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP) impact evaluation. CASP had made progress in achieving some of its objectives but not enough had been made in promoting commercialisation, market access, employment and achieving food security, as only 33% of all farms included in the evaluation were considered to be commercial.
CASP had reached most of the target groups, but few youths and disabled persons were involved. The support programme had contributed to capacity building, but had made little contribution to helping the projects to be self-reliant. There had been limited coordination of CASP within the DAFF and the provincial Departments of Agriculture, as the scope and coverage of CASP was too wide, resulting in resources being thinly spread. Some recommendations were that CASP should be institutionalised within the DAFF and the current CASP funding approach of a wholesale grant should be discontinued.
The Committee was also briefed on the sustainability and economic impact of agricultural cooperatives in South Africa. The factors which affected the sustainability of agricultural cooperatives were access to land and finance, markets and participation, training and capacity development, effective cooperative management and compliance with regulations. Statistics of the nature of land ownership in cooperatives and formal market opportunities were provided. The markets were difficult to access as a result of stringent conditions. There were 1 788 cooperatives, with 716 managers, and with 6 759 permanent employees and 2 956 casuals. Only 5% of cooperatives were involved in post-production activities.
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