Future of Agriculture and the Rural Economy Process (FARE)
Members of the press and all other agricultural stakeholders:
Thank you for being here today. Thank you for showing an interest in the Western Cape agricultural sector and the attempts currently being made to address the challenges we experienced at the end of last year and the beginning of this year.
Yesterday I announced the Western Cape Governments action plans in addressing this complex situation. It took time and a lot of hard work to come to the point where we could make this announcement. We will:
- Conduct a farm worker survey.
- Focus on youth development for the sector.
- Provide training for farm workers in order to have the needed skills for modern agriculture.
- Initiate dialogue sessions between employers, workers and the Provincial Government.
- Investigate various housing models for farm workers.
- Put a toll-free number in place for farm worker-related issues to be reported.
- Invest in sport facilities for farm worker communities.
- Compile best practice case studies to serve as examples for the sector to follow.
- We will support ethical trade initiatives such as SIZA and WIETA.
- We will communicate agriculture success stories, as well as the respective rights of farm workers and employers.
I believe these interventions will make a positive contribution towards establishing a stable and prosperous agricultural sector for all the parties involved.
But why are we here today?
We need an outside and independent perspective on our situation. And therefore I support the FARE team with the work they are about to embark on.
The Western Cape Economic Development Partnership operates independently from the Provincial Government and this independence is crucial for the credibility of their eventual findings and recommendations. I am confident that the process will provide us with new insights into the sector and that it will assist us in adapting our support services to the agricultural community.
I also want to wish the FARE panel success with their work. Your work is important for the future of agriculture in the Western Cape.
Agriculture, and all the people working in this sector, is very important for the Western Cape. I want to urge all role players to work together in a positive and respectful manner. Let us work hard now in order to create a healthy sector for our children to inherit.