Aquaculture Development Bill on Track

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

The Draft Aquaculture Development Bill, recently approved by cabinet for tabling in parliament, will provide a legislative framework for sector development.

The agriculture, forestry and fisheries minister, Senzeni Zokwana, confirmed this while delivering his department’s budget vote speech in parliament.

The minister added that it was envisaged that “aquaculture production will increase to twenty thousand (20 000) tonnes resulting in an additional two thousand and five hundred (2 500) direct jobs and fifteen thousand (15 000) jobs in the value chain by 2019, and an additional investment of five hundred million rands (R500million).”

In its statement, cabinet pointed out that the draft bill seeks to promote aquaculture development in the oceans economy.

The draft bill was published for comment in 2016.

The minister also indicated that the current debate around land redistribution provides an opportunity for his department to “bring more producers into the agricultural sector; in order that the aspirations of our people may be realised.”

“We need to be at the forefront of ensuring that we impart relevant vocational skills and formalise indigenous knowledge systems; which as part of our heritage, have been passed on from generation to generation”, he said.

In his speech, the deputy minister, Sfiso Buthelezi, announced that the Draft Public Procurement Bill will soon be published for comment.

The proposed legislation will ensure that government prioritises transformation of the economy via public spending.

“Government departments must give preference to emerging farmers and those farmers who embrace transformation.”

Meanwhile, the agriculture, forestry and fisheries department recently briefed parliament on the Draft National Policy on Comprehensive Producer Development Support.

The draft policy aims to define and standardize categories of producers in the local agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector, set up a comprehensive electronic register of producers and strengthen institutional mechanisms to better coordinate support provided to the sector to avoid competition and unnecessary duplication.

The committee expressed disappointment with the draft policy and requested the department revise the document.

One concern was that the draft policy was silent on fisheries and did not define aquaculture adequately.

In a separate matter, the Plant Health (Phytosanitary) Bill and the Agricultural Product Standards Amendment Bill have been withdrawn from parliament.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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