New agriculture DG appointed

2010-09-06 14:37

Cape Town - Former MP Langa Zita has been appointed as the director general of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, who announced the appointment in Cape Town on Monday, said Zita had the necessary background and skills.

"We have always said that when we finally appoint a DG, it will be a DG of agriculture, forestry and fisheries and not only of agriculture," she said.

Zita, who is from Pedi and was at one time Joemat-Pettersson's superior in the SA Communist Party, said one of his priorities would be to turn the country's roughly 500 000 smallholder farmers into full-scale commercial farmers.

He would also focus on improving South Africa's farming strengths, which included commercial farming.

"Our commercial agriculture is the most competitive on the continent, but we are not reaching all the markets we want to reach," he said.

Zita would look at the many challenges facing agriculture, including a high cost of inputs.