Agri SA offers to help emerging irrigation farmers

2011-04-21 14:28

Agri SA has offered to help emerging irrigation farmers develop unused irrigable land.

Agri SA president Johannes Möller today welcomed Environmental and Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa’s support for making more water available for economic growth and creating decent jobs.

Möller said in a statement that according to an Agri SA survey, about 90 000 hectares of unused irrigable land were still available and were earmarked for emerging irrigation farmers.

“Agri SA wishes to offer its co-operation to the department to develop this opportunity, together with emerging irrigation farmers on a contractual or shareholder basis,” he said.

“We can most certainly make a meaningful contribution towards empowering emerging farmers, while at the same time securing food security and job creation.”

Agri SA submitted that existing lawful water use for irrigation should also be optimised and used to its full economic value.

The organisation was therefore concerned that some irrigation farmers were prohibited by the department from transferring these rights freely as a result of “the wrong, in our view”, application of the National Water Act and BEE codes of good practice.

“This practice limits the utilisation of the economic potential of water resources to the detriment of the objectives of the new growth path initiative, a matter which we need to urgently discuss with the minister,” Möller said.

He congratulated the department on its efforts to enhance water supply to the irrigation sector, which would benefit from the raising of the wall of the Tzaneen Dam and completion of the De Hoop Dam in the near future.

“The organisation fully supports the efforts of the department aimed to curtail illegal water use from the Vaal River system as well as other unlawful activities impacting on the water systems across the country,” Möller said.

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