The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), assisted by Statistics South Africa, has established a project aimed at collecting stats on commercial and non-commercial farmers.
The Producer/Farmer Register (PFR) was unveiled in Cape Town on Tuesday by DAFF Minister Senzeni Zokwana.
Zokwana said the project, which will run from 2018 to 2021, will improve the inaccurate and misrepresented statistics of farmers in the non-commercial sector, in particular, smallholder farmers across the country.
It will establish the number of farms, size of farms, crop types being farmed in different geographic areas, and agricultural inputs such as irrigation usage.
Unveiling the project during a media briefing, Zokwana explained that the statistics on commercial farmers will be collected through a Census of Commercial Agriculture (COCA), and statistics on non-commercial farmers will be collected through the Producer/Farmer Register.
“While the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries will collect data on non-commercial farmers, StatsSA is collecting data on commercial agriculture on behalf of the department,” Zokwana said.
He said the register is going to be an important database for the government, noting that StatsSA is assisting the department through their expertise in handling the census of commercial farmers.
“The department will be handling the Producer/Farmer Register, guided also by the expertise from StatsSA. This two-phase project has been endorsed and supported by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).”
In his State of the Nation Address this year, President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted the importance of the agricultural sector in economic growth within the value chain, and the preservation of food security to reduce poverty and sustain the country.
The establishment of the Producer/Farmer Register for South Africa is going to address the following areas for the sector and the country:
To improve the inaccurate and misrepresented statistics of farmers in the non-commercial sector in particular the Small holder farmers across the country;
To have a basis from which the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (AFF) sector performance can be measured in the non-commercial sector;
To enable development of indicators in line with Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and National Development Plan (NDP). These indicators will help in identifying progress in achieving government outcomes;
To accurately identify small holder farmers in terms of their geographic distribution and agricultural activities;
To establish an up-to-date frame of reference for conducting agricultural sector surveys in the country;
To track the impact of agricultural support amongst beneficiaries in agriculture and development of strategies to help producers overcome the challenges related to natural and unnatural disasters; and
To account for beneficiaries in agriculture who are entitled to support services.
No link to land expropriation
Zokwana appealed to all smallholder producers and farmers to register during this process and emphasised that the registration project has no link to the current discourse around expropriation of land without compensation.
“Our extension officers will be approaching smallholder producers and farmers and I am urging them to open their gates to allow this project to succeed. Related to this is our request for producers and farmers to volunteer the relevant information they have, which is necessary for this project,”