Agri budget focus on smallholder farmers

2013-02-27 15:40 - Sapa

Cape Town - The agriculture department will focus on supporting smallholder farmers over the medium term, according to the 2013 Budget tabled on Wednesday.

The department will support these farmers through conditional grants such as the comprehensive agricultural support programme, the Landcare programme and the Ilima/Letsema programme.

It would spend in excess of R6bn over the medium term on conditional grants to provinces, to support 435 000 subsistence farmers and 54 500 smallholder producers.

Another agriculture focus was on animal and plant production and health.

An additional allocation of R492.4m was set aside over the medium term for the modernisation of vaccine production facilities and equipment for Onderstepoort Biological Products.

The Stellenbosch plant quarantine station was allocated R54.6m to upgrade and maintain its building and laboratories.

Over the next three years, the Agriculture Research Council would receive R323m for research into crop production, animal vaccines, extension services and the maintenance of national gene-bank collections.

The department had also budgeted for fencing along the Zimbabwe and Mozambique borders to protect against foot and mouth disease. The initial cost of this project was estimated at R250m, with an additional R75m budgeted over the medium term.

A budget of R200m was allocated for sighting, drilling and testing boreholes for small-scale farmers in different provinces.

The department's total budget for 2013/14 is R6.2bn.

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