The Agriculture Department has proper implementation plans to roll out conditional grants for the 2007-08 financial year.
Plans for the comprehensive agricultural support programme and land-care projects have been processed, coupled with grant beneficiary signatures on memoranda of understanding.
To ensure beneficiaries are carefully selected, and due to the great demand for grants, the department has developed a strategy on development funds.
Sanitary control measures planned to strengthen animal disease control and meat safety:
l Strengthening preventative vaccination campaigns for anthrax, rabies and brucellosis;
l Targeted surveillance and contingency programmes for bird flu, swine fever and foot and mouth disease;
l Improved compliance on exports through regular audits to mitigate export risks and promote competitiveness.
Multipurpose livestock handling facilities
As an outcome of the provincial anti-stock theft forum launched in 2003, the regulation of animal pounds and auctions emerged as an important factor in securing livestock. The department intends to construct at least one multipurpose livestock handling facility in each district.
Anchor projects in 2007-08:
l Mechanisation programme;
l Western frontier beef cattle beneficiation programme;
l Complete Tosca feasibility study;
l Merafong area relief plan;
lInfrastructure repairs to Taung irrigation scheme;
l Complete the official inscription of Taung and Vredefort heritage sites;
l Launch Wolmaransstad goat project;
l Nguni cattle project;
l Finalise provincial disaster management policy and plan;
lContinue Letsema la Mantshatlala programme;
l Firebreaks programme;
lEstablish wildlife and environmental flora;
l Accelerate transformation of game industry;
l Revive agricultural trade and marketing forum;
l Introduce new tariffs for EIA applications;
l Accelerate land reform;
l Approve and implement employment equity and workplace skills plan;
l Finalise Pounds Bill;
lFinalise Biodiversity and Conservation Bill;
l Implement risk management strategy;
l Adopt and implement human resource plan;
lDrive HIV-Aids awareness programme for farmworkers;
lImplement environmental regulatory framework;
lPublish North West environmental outlook report.
Our greatest challenge is the gap between need and available resources. All stakeholders and structures agree that agriculture is the anchor of the province's economic development.
We, therefore, need to find proactive ways of ensuring appropriate funds to enable us to deliver.
We also grapple with the proper alignment of reporting requirements of structures to which we are accountable.
Our challenge is to adapt our plans and investments to manage this great risk in accordance with the ever-changing weather patterns.
The department's vision is to be a leading partner in the sustainable use of natural resources by providing a sound natural resource management system, which will contribute to sustainable development for a better life for all North West's people.