Home South African Reduced agricultural budget compounds food insecurity in SA

Reduced agricultural budget compounds food insecurity in SA


Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development had its R16.8 billion budget reduced by R2.4 billion.

Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza. Picture: Twitter/@SAgov

THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development received its budget allocation for the 2020/21 financial year.

This follows the national budget vote in February by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni. 

According to a statement issued on Tuesday, the received amount of R14.4 billion is a reduction of R2.4bn from its initial allocation. 

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza lodged the department’s readjusted budget vote during a virtual meeting on Tuesday.

Didiza explained that the greatest portion of cuts in allocation occurred within the department’s programmes that deliver on food security, land redistribution and restitution.

“Food security had cuts of R939 million, land redistribution and tenure reform R544 million and land restitution R403 million. The Food Security Programme in our budget comprises the transfer allocations from the national department as covered by the Division of Revenue Act,” said Didiza. 

The budget for government projects such as Ilima/Letsema, which forms part of national policy on food and nutrition security, was also cut. 

“The Ilima/Letsema and CASP (Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme) budget readjustments will mean that for the 2020/21, provinces will receive lesser allocations for producer support for production and infrastructure,” the minister said.

According to Statistics South Africa’s (Stats SA) General Household Survey (GHS) of 2018, nationally, more than 75.6% of households that are involved in agriculture are also involved in an attempt to secure an additional source of food.

However, only 10% of the households involved in agriculture reported getting agricultural-related support from the government during the year prior to the survey.

Furthermore, Didiza noted that the budget cut of R199.7 million in rural development would pose a severe problem. 

“This coupled with the cuts in the CASP infrastructure allocations will lead to delayed implementation of on-farm infrastructure projects,” said the minister. 

– African News Agency (ANA)