An Integrated and Inclusive Rural Economy

Rural community has struggled along with limited access to quality nutrition and basic health care. Quality social services are key to giving people living in rural areas opportunities to find employment.

 2030 VISION

By 2030 the NDP plans to ensure that rural communities enjoy better opportunities to participate fully in economic, social and political life of the country and those citizens who work and live in these areas are included in South Africa’s future development.

People must have access to high quality basic services, and rural economies must be supported by agriculture, mining, tourism, agro-processing and fisheries.

Integration through land reform will be an important consideration, as will infrastructure development, job creation and poverty alleviation.

People living in rural areas will have access to social and infrastructure services.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE.

Given the right possibilities and critical foundational building blocks agriculture has the potential to create over 1 million jobs by 2030, playing a leading role in shaping South Africa’s story.To capitalise on true Agricultural potential we need to:

  • Expand irrigated agriculture from 1.5 – 2 million hectares.
  • Cultivate under-utilised land in communal areas.
  • Engage in land reform projects for communal production.
  • Support commercial agriculture sectors and regions with the highest growth and employment potential.
  • Establish opportunities for creative collaboration between commercial farmers, communal farmers and complementary industries.
  • Provide new entrants access to value chains and support through strategic plans.

We need to focus on skills development and entrepreneurial training, both of which rely on crucial partnerships with both the state and industry.   Along with partnerships and the listed practical implementations, it is imperative that we invest in the research and development of agriculture to ensure we are working toward a sustainable future.

THE EMPLOYMENT POTENTIAL OF SA AGRICULTURE

Creating jobs in the rural economy has a tangible impact on our development. Agriculture has the potential to expand and improve the lives of over 370 000 people.

Commercial Agriculture and Growth

As with rural economic expansion, commercial agriculture holds a wealth of potential job creation.

To expand this potential the NDP proposes:

  • Driving higher productivity and foreign domestic demand. Note: without increased demand, increased production will result in the depression of domestic prices.
  • Focus on large, labour intensive agriculture: citrus, table and dried grapes, sub-tropical fruits and vegetables.
  • Smaller scale, labour intensive agriculture: macadamias, pecans, rooibos tea, olives, figs, cherries and berries. This sector has the greatest potential for expansion and growth
  • Large, non-labour intensive industries with significant value-chain linkages should be promoted.
  • Trade-offs and risks for agricultural expansion need to be created.

Recommendations

To ensure each sector’s success the NDP supports:

  • Increasing investment in water resource and irrigation infrastructure.
  • Providing innovative market linkages.
  • Linking farmers to existing new markets.
  • Ensuring tenure security for communal farmers.
  • Investing in innovative public-private partnerships.

Land Reform that Works

Land reform will unlock the agricultural sectors full potential.

The NDPs model for Land Reform is based on the following principles:

  • Enable more rapid land transfer to black beneficiaries without market distortion or affecting business confidence.
  • Ensure sustainable production by prioritising skills and capacity development through: incubators, learnerships, mentoring, apprenticeships and training in agricultural sciences.
  • Establish mentoring institutions to protect land markets from opportunism, corruption and speculation.
  • Involve commercial farmers and organised industry with opportunity to contribute to reform through mentorships, value-chain integration, potential procurement and skills transfer.
  • Support current infrastructure and functioning markets to secure investment by farmers resulting in secure investment streams.

HUMAN CAPITAL, SOCIAL SECURITY, FOOD SECURITY AND BASIC SERVICES

Human development of rural residents is necessary to enable opportunity to relocate to cities or to create sustainable opportunities in their own rural environment. For too long a massive urban-rural food price gap has existed, and needs to be addressed. Fundamental, equal opportunities regardless of where in South Africa you might live, that is the 2030 vision.

 Security

Household food security is determined by a household’s ability to access sufficient, nutritious and safe food. This is a fundamental basic that we need to address in all areas to build our new 2030 story.

 Recommendations

Our national food security goal should be to maintain a positive trade balance in agriculture. To this end the NDP plans to:

  • Investigate regional food security.
  • Include: public works programmes, social grants and nutritional services.
  • Ensure the most vulnerable groups have access to nutritional services.
  • Investigate measures to close the urban-rural food price gap. This includes: improved farming efficiencies, communication between transport and wholesale sectors, packer and retailer education, cost effective packaging.
  • Educate and promote healthy, safe pregnancy and childbirth to farm workers.
  • Create an effective nutrition programme for health workers, mothers and caregivers.
  • Include food fortification programmes for young children.
  • Strengthen links between agriculture and nutrition particularly in the production of nutrient rich foods.
  • Introduce policy measures to increase fruit and vegetable production and intake.
  • Introduce nutritional services for non-able bodied households.
  • Provide nutritional services during natural disasters.

THE ECONOMY OF RURAL TOWNS

South Africa is filled with a range of settlements in rural areas. Each is characterised by a unique and specific economic state. Some are fast-growing, others have high levels of migration. To grow each economy and improve the rural quality of life we need to address the following:

  • Addressing the high cost of providing basic services and infrastructure (electricity and sanitation) to remote areas.
  • Improve water supply shortages in struggling rural municipalities.
  • Provide subsidised transport to ensure easy access to basic services, including health care.

Rural Governance

Highly uneven government performance is mapped across rural areas. To improve on the efficient governance of these communities we need to consider the following:

  • Promote differentiation in the allocation of functions to municipalities.
  • Promote greater co-ordination between district and local municipalities with regard to service delivery, as well as all spheres of government with regard to agriculture.
  • Clearly define and communicate the roles of traditional leaders and state to avoid duplication or unrest.

Integrated and inclusive rural economy is multi-faceted and includes everything from basic service delivery and food security, to governance, labour relations and empowerment. To deliver on all of these areas we need dedicated partnerships and commitment. The potential of our rural economy is enormous. On a micro level all the people living in rural areas will enjoy a better quality of life and opportunity, whilst on a macro level we have the potential to strengthen our local and global economy. Together, we can write a new story that amplifies the possibility latent in our rich, abundant natural resource, our land.

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