Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Bill to be Redrafted

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

The Draft Preservation and Development of Agricultural Land Bill is to be reconsidered and redrafted.

The agriculture, forestry and fisheries department announced this during a briefing on its Quarter 2 Preliminary Organizational Performance Report for 2017/18.

According to the department, the Office of the Chief State Law Advisor (OCSLA) had raised concerns, inter alia, on the “concurrent mandate to be shared between the three spheres of Government and the need to clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each sphere without infringing on the powers of the other.”

The OCSLA also held the opinion that the bill is not “constitutionally sound.”

The proposed legislation was published for comment last year.

It focuses on agricultural land management, agricultural land applications and authorisations, compliance and contraventions and agricultural land register.

Some of the objectives of the draft bill are to promote the preservation and sustainable development of agricultural land, identify protected agricultural areas, put in place measures to promote long-term viable and resilient farming units, provide for mitigating measures to counter-act the loss of agricultural land and set up a National Agricultural Land Registry for all activities on agricultural land.

The department added that it was unlikely that the draft bill would be tabled in parliament by 31 March 2018 as originally planned.

The Policy on Comprehensive Producer Development Support was also in the pipeline.

Meanwhile, the department has published the Draft Conservation Agriculture Policy for comment.

The policy is designed to address the urgent need to adapt conventional farming systems which are impacting negatively on agricultural production and resulting in natural resource degradation.

It is also needed to address a “lack of coherence in legislation within the agricultural production and rural development policy environment.”

Its objective is to “promote and establish ecologically and economically sustainable agricultural systems that will increase food security levels and address associated national security risks.”

Hearings on the policy will be held from 26 February 2018 until 28 March 2018.

Comment is invited until 30 April 2018.

It can be emailed to ConservationACW@daff.gov.za.

The department also recently issued an update on the amended control measures for the Oriental Fruit Fly.

Amended measures were published in November 2017.

Removal permits are required to remove fruit from declared infested areas to the oriental fruit fly free areas.

Sabinet Cape Town Office