The National Emergent Red Meat Producers Organisation (NERPO) has requested that the government's national treasury release funding that will capacitate the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) to manufacture Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccines.
The importance of the funding was emphasised during the NERPO’s recent 21st birthday congress celebration, themed 21 years of struggle for transformation in the red meat industry; the consideration of the Medicine Control Council, which has indicated that it will no longer issue special dispensation under Section 21 of the Medicines and Related Substances Act 101 of 1965 to use an unregistered vaccine in South Africa. This puts South African trade at risk, jeopardising the growth of the whole industry and national economy.
Other highlights during the congress included:
• A decision to re-categorize farmers in the emerging sector into three categories in order to provide for better support: Medium Scale Commercial Livestock Farmers (Owners of more than a hundred breeding cows), Resource Limited Commercial Farmers (Owners of 51 – 99 breeding Cows) and Resource Limited Farmers (Owners of less than 50 breeding cows).
• An urgent call to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to re-establish District Land Reform Committees (DLRC’s) and empower them to facilitate land reform per district as stipulated in the National Development Plan.
• A call on government and the red meat industry to stand together in the fight against stock theft and implementation of Livestock Identification and traceability system.
In an effort to design sustainable collaborative solutions towards sustainable development of the sector, the organisation with industry partners launched the Red Meat Industry Agrarian Transformation Fund. The goal of the fund is to provide a blended financial model, sourcing Enterprise Supplier Development funds from corporates and available government funding. It will provide the much-needed capacity to the organisation creating ecosystem support that would make a lasting net positive impact instead of uncoordinated ad hoc activities. Mr Sifiso Buthelezi, the deputy minister of DAFF and Ms Michelle de Lange GM, Red Meat Industry Forum (RMIF), supported the Fund.
Awarding growing agri-preneurial skills
NERPO was also proud and excited to graduate twenty-one of the organisation’s top identified farmers from "Emerging" to "Medium Scale Commercial Farmers". These farmers where recognised and awarded graduation certificates at the Gala dinner. They have demonstrated considerable improvement, agri-preneurial and good management skills.
"NERPO is proud to be associated with these farmers, including youth and women and showing that with perseverance and good management we can grow our farmers to become sustainable commercial enterprises," says Aggrey Mahanjana, GMD of NERPO.
"The challenges we face as farmers and South Africans are of a big magnitude, we will never be able to affect change if we keep on working in our separate silo’s. We need coordinated ecosystem solutions that will benefit the whole industry. Collaboration, solution thinking and value chain mindset is key to our survival and growth."
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