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Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development responds to new agricultural minimum wage

Gerrit van Rensburg, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development responded positively to the announcement of the new minimum wage for workers in the agricultural sector. "We are thankful that the prescribed process has been completed and the Minister of Labour announced the new minimum wage for agricultural workers".

Van Rensburg however stressed that the violence and unlawful behaviour experienced in the agricultural sector during the past three months is something the sector can ill afford. "May we never see such destructive behaviour again during a wage negation process".

Van Rensburg said the new wage, set at R105, is now law and all producers must abide by it. He added his concern for farms, especially new and smaller operations, which will struggle to absorb the additional cost. "I do not want to see job losses as a result of the higher wage determination".

Van Rensburg asked the National Government to step in with incentive programmes, such as the Youth Wage Subsidy, to assist the agricultural sector in absorbing the higher labour cost. "Agriculture's ability to create new job opportunities must be protected".

Van Rensburg said his Department is focussing its research efforts to find ways in which to be more productive. "We are searching for ways to produce more crops with fewer inputs. We need to improve agricultural profitability in order to be able to pay higher wages".

Van Rensburg said his Department is also still the only South African Department of Agriculture, provincially and nationally, which has a dedicated Farm Worker Development Programme. This Programme focuses on the wellbeing and betterment of farm worker conditions. "We will continue to provide training and support services to farm workers. This also includes providing them with information regarding their rights and responsibilities in terms of our labour legislation".

Contact: Wouter Kriel, 021 483 4700, 079 694 3085, Wouter.kriel@westerncape.gov.za


Leadership Must be Shown in Farm Worker Strike Say Zille and Van Rensburg

Joint statement by Helen Zille Premier of the Western Cape, and Gerrit van Rensburg Minister of Agriculture
It is essential that Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant actively intervene in the violent farmworker strike currently underway which is centred in De Doorns and is now in its third day. There seems to be no resolution on the horizon and Minister Oliphant needs to be at the forefront of finding one, pending the sectoral determination process that will conclude in March.

She needs to bring together the relevant stakeholders to facilitate discussions and reach an agreement that would calm tensions and ensure that the harvest season is not disrupted. Failure to do so will see very severe consequences not only for the Western Cape but for South Africa as a whole. As I stated in a letter to President Jacob Zuma on 13 November 2012, this crisis "…will very seriously impact on our food export industry and the hundreds of thousands of people who are dependent on it. It will also have a profound impact on the fundamental issue of food security in South Africa."

The disruption of farm operations at this time does not serve the interests of farmworkers and has shaken investor confidence resulting in a drop in South Africa's credit rating last night, as reported today in the media. This development, linked very much to the violent nature of the crisis, will only result in the decline of the agricultural sector which is the key source of jobs for unskilled workers in the Province.

It is critical that we begin to stabilise the situation. While Minister Oliphant has a legislated role to play as far as the sectoral determination is concerned, her deafening silence in the face of this crisis must be challenged.

We are calling urgently on Minister Oliphant to show strong and decisive leadership that will result in a constructive short-term outcome. As the responsible Minister, she must not hide behind due process or use it as an excuse for inaction – hands-on leadership and intervention are needed now to prevent further injury and damage. It is incumbent on the Labour Minister to make the first move in defusing the situation through visible and proactive engagement.

Furthermore, she must apply pressure on her political comrades in the area, such as ANC councillor Pat Marran and union leader Nosey Pieterse, to stop their inflaming and stoking of the situation because their agitating is only making her job more difficult and is obstructive to reaching a solution.

Media Enquiries:
Zak Mbhele
Spokesperson for Premier Helen Zille
Cell: 083 600 2349
Tel: 021 483 4584
E-mail: Zak.Mbhele@westerncape.gov.za

Wouter Kriel
Spokesperson for Minister Gerrit van Rensburg
Tel: 021 483 4930
Cell: 079 694 3085
Email: Wouter.Kriel@westerncape.gov.za

Source: Premier of the Western Cape

IMPORTANT NOTICE - Invitation for the submission of applications for the funding of FARM WORKER related projects for 2013/14

The templates and annexures can be downloaded by clicking on the image below.


Western Cape Farm Worker of the Year 2012

"Willem Paulse from the Witzenberg region was announced as the Western Cape Farm Worker of the Year on Friday evening at the Western Cape Department of Agriculture's annual gala event, held at the Cape Town International Conference Centre.

Paulse is the Financial Manager for a Ceres based fruit export farm. He received a prize comprising of amongst others: R20 000 in cash; a R50 000 overseas trip; and a R20 000 study burse from the University of Stellenbosch. Paulse started his career as an administrative clerk, and has been working in financial administration for the past 27 years.

Paulse said he enjoys working in the agricultural sector, and hopes that the Farm worker Competition will encourage and inspire other farm workers to use the opportunities available to them in order to progress in their careers. Read the full media release here.

Dr Johan van Deventer, Shoprite; Helen Zille, Western Cape Premier; Willem Paulse, Western Cape Farm Worker of the Year; Gerrit van Rensburg, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

PHOTO: Wouter Kriel


De Doorns unrest - talks crucial for restoring peace

"The current protest action in De Doorns is harming our economy and preventing job creation in the Western Cape agricultural sector. The unrest can only be solved through negotiations, and therefore the current talks between labour and employers, chaired by the CCMA, is of great importance.
Read the full Media Release here.


Western Cape Department of Agriculture - Annual Report 2011-2012

The Department's Annual Report is available - click on the images below.


Animal census phase of the Kayamandi Pilot Pet Health and Population Project completed

"If we can care for our animals, we can care for our neighbours", Gerrit van Rensburg, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch.

He congratulated and thanked the team of volunteers from the Kayamandi community who successfully completed the first phase of a Western Cape Government co-funded pilot project which will see to the mass sterilisation of stray animals and pets in Kayamandi.

Download media release here.

PHOTO fltr: Nomacule Father; Kayamandi volunteer; Gerrit van Rensburg, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development; Joyene Isaacs, Head of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture

Photo: Wouter Kriel


The 2012 South African Society for Animal Science Congress well supported by the Institute for Animal Production of the Department of Agriculture Western Cape

The Annual Congress of the South African Society for Animal Science (SASAS) was held recently in East London in the Eastern Cape, with the theme "Animal Science in a continuous state of change".

The SASAS congress served as an opportunity for the exchange of scientific knowledge, for the establishment of new collaborative efforts and for the strengthening of existing networks. It can thus be considered as an important event in the annual planning of all animal scientists. Read the full story here.

From left to right: Dr Carel Muller, Institute for Animal Production (Elsenburg), Dr Jasper Cloete (Elsenburg Agricultural College), Dr Carina Visser (University of Pretoria), Dr Leslie Bergh (Agricultural Research Council) and Dr Japie van der Westhuysen (SA Studbook)

The organizing committee of the 2012 SASAS congress. From left to right: Prof Robin Meeske, Dr Tina Rust, Ms Dorothy Kingman, Dr Jean Rust, Ms Nandipha Ndundane-Tyumra, Prof Voster Muchenje and Mr Alan Grenfell


First time pilot pet project manages health and population

For the first time ever, the Western Cape Government is making funds available for a pilot mass pet sterilisation and census campaign, initiated in Kayamandi and soon to be rolled out across the entire Western Cape. Download the press release here.

Mr Conrad Sidego (Mayor of Stellenbosch), Ms Helen Zille (Premier of the Western Cape Government), Mr Gerrit van Rensburg (Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development), Dennis Tshuma(Veterinary Services: Western Cape Department of Agriculture), and Kerry van der Walt (PETS) inoculating one of the community pets in Kayamandi.
Photo taken by: Gizelle van Wyk


New market: Export of fresh citrus fruit from the Republic of South Africa to Thailand

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) wishes to announce the establishment of a new market for the export of fresh citrus fruit from the Republic of South Africa to the Kingdom of Thailand with effect from 31 May 2012. Download the full press release here.


Cape Winelands Premier's Advancement of Youth (PAY) Launch

The up-side of attracting young people to agriculture is that efforts from various parties have seen the light in attempting to lure young people to agriculture. One of these attempts are the current internship programme of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture which forms part of the Advancement of Youth project of the Premier, Helen Zille.  Of the 800 youngsters who form part of the programme, 42 were placed at the Department to expose them to possible careers in agriculture. Gerrit van Rensburg, MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development in the Western Cape said: “We need more youngsters to be attracted to agriculture. We need talented and educated people to grow our economy.” 

The Head of Department, Ms Joyene Isaacs, further encouraged the young ones by saying that they should understand that agriculture is not farming, but a sector with huge potential for creative, innovative and exciting people who are eager (keen) and determined to make a difference.  It is not only about “hard and dirty work”, but also about innovation.”

The Agri-SETA even offered every one of the 42 interns a bursary if they have an interest in studying further in agriculture.

"Sechaba Nxele (PAY intern), Gerrit van Rensburg, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Carian Arnolds (PAY intern)"
Photo by Gizelle van Wyk



Western Cape Agribusiness Forum - Lord Charles Conference Centre, Somerset West - 14 June 2012

Download the Registration form here
Download the Programme here

Hex River Farm Worker of the Year 2012

"South African history will reflect on the important work farm workers have been doing in this country" Gerrit van Rensburg, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said last night at the first regional round of the 2012 Western Cape Farm Worker of the Year Competition. Johannes Kees, a junior manager form Nonna Estate was announced as the Hex River winner from a total of 80 entrants. Download the full Media Release here.

"Gerrit van Rensburg, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, left, and Johannes Kees, winner of the Hex River region in the Western Cape Farm Worker of the Year Competition, right.
Photo by Wouter Kriel


Khayelitsha food garden visit

"I love supporting winning projects", Gerrit van Rensburg, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said during a working lunch with the Masiphile Peace Garden in Khayelitsha. Van Rensburg handed over a new nursery and seeds worth R18 000 to the project. Download the full Media Release here.

"Gerrit van Rensburg, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development hands over a new nursery to Nobantu Gwabeni (left) of the Masiphile Peace Garden in Khayelitsha"
Photo by Wouter Kriel


Grassland Society of Southern Africa Congress 2012

47th Annual Congress, 16 to 20 July 2012, Club Mykonos, Langebaan, Western Cape
Several special sessions, symposia and workshops are being organised in addition to the standard sessions. Further details will become available over the coming weeks BUT if you would like to submit an idea, please do so as soon as possible. Organisers of special sessions, symposia, workshops, etc. are encouraged to publish contributions in a special issue of the African Journal of Range and Forage Science. Remember that page charges for all papers published by members of the Grassland Society of Southern Africa will be ZERO!!

For more information on the GSSA Congress visit the following link: http://www.grassland.org.za/events/annual-congress/gssa-congress-2012

Budget Speech 2012

Female Entrepreneur winners
Click on the image to download Minister Gerrit van Rensburg's speech.


Jacky Crowned Top Female Commercial Farmer in the Country

Female Entrepreneur winners
Ms Jacky Goliath and Mr Gerrit van Rensburg, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development at the DAFF Female Entrepreneur Awards Ceremony
Photo taken by Gizelle van Wyk.

Jacky Goliath from Simondium in the Western Cape, scooped the coveted National Female Entrepreneur of the Year award in the category, Commercial, at a gala event held on Friday night at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre in Kimberley by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).

Goliath was awarded for the excellent way in which she runs the De Fynne Nursery, which focuses on the growing and selling of mostly indigenous plants. She started in 2001 with 1 000 plants and has since expanded the business to a total production of 600 000 plants.

"I'm so proud that such a small business like mine can win such a prestigeous award and it just shows that hard work and perseverance do pay off." said Jacky at the awards ceremony. Her advice to all female entrepreneurs is to turn passion into a profit-driven business and to persevere, especially when times are difficult.

This was the 12th annual DAFF Female Entrepreneur awards, which seeks to acknowledge and encourage excellence of women, the youth and those with disabilities in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries' sectors.

Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Gerrit van Rensburg, congratulated Jacky, and said she is an example of what can be done through hard work and commitment. "Jackie built this business without any state support. We would love to assist her in the future if there is an opportunity to do so", Van Rensburg said.

Van Rensburg said economic growth is the driver behind development, and businesses such as Jacky's are creating employment and opportunities for other people.


Top Western Cape Female Entrepreneurs in Agriculture crowned

The top Female Entrepreneurs in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in the Western Cape were recently crowned at an awards ceremony hosted by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. This was the 12th annual awards, which seeks to acknowledge, encourage and increase participation of women in these sectors.

The competition rewards the efforts and contribution of women in matters such as food security, job creation, economic growth and poverty alleviation. Over the years, it became an empowerment platform that recognised the entrepreneurial skills of women.

Mr Gerrit van Rensburg, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development thanked all the entrants for caring for their businesses. "Thank you for demonstrating your capacity to nurture. We urgently need more people like you to care for South Africa in order to build a better future for all our people."

"As winners, your task is now to take another woman by the hand, to mentor her and to empower her to reach the same level of competency that you have." was the strong message that Ms Joyene Isaacs, Head of Department (Western Cape Department of Agriculture) left with the entrants.

Although the competition commences at provincial level it culminates to a national competition held by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, where all the provincial winners compete in the different categories. An overall winner is also chosen at national level. This year the national competition will be hosted by the Northern Cape on the 23rd of March 2012 and all winners will travel to Kimberley to contend for the coveted awards.

The winners in the various categories were:

Best Female Worker : Elize Meyer - Ceres; Top Entrepreneur Subsistence : Masiphile Peace Project - Khayelitsha; Top Entrepreneur Smallholder : Allie Gordon – Leeu-Gamka; Top Entrepreneur Processor : Doreen van Riel - Caledon; Top Entrepreneur Commercial : Jacky Goliath - Simondium; Top Entrepreneur Exporter : Adri Claassen - Hermanus

Female Entrepreneur winners
fltr: Nobantu Gwabeni (Masiphile Peace Project), Allie Gordon, Minister Gerrit van Rensburg (Agriculture and Rural Development), Doreen van Riel, Ms Joyene Isaacs (Head of Department, Western Cape Agriculture), Jacky Goliath and Adri Claassen.
Photo taken by Gizelle van Wyk.

Launch of Agricultural Trilingual Dictionary

The Western Cape Department of Agriculture today launched the 2nd edition of the Trilingual Dictionary. Hardcopies are available on request. E-mail us at info@elsenburg.com or click on the image to download a copy.

Trilingual Agricultural Dictionary