A newly launched farming register will help the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries (DAFF) keep an accurate record of smallholder farmers as well as the services provided to them by the department.
The Producer/Farmer register announced by minister Senzeni Zokwana at a briefing on Tuesday, is a partnership with Statistics South Africa (Stats SA). The project will run for three years from 2018 to 2021.
Stats SA will collect data on commercial agriculture, while the department will collect data on non-commercial farmers. Stats SA will also lead and guide the department's statisticians with the data analysis process.
The register is an effort to ensure that information on non-commercial farmers is accurate.
Speaking at the briefing, Director General Mike Mlengana said that knowing the number of small farmers, who they are and what their commodities are, will assist the department in keeping track of services provided to them.
"The farmer register allows us to know who we are servicing, and how we are servicing that beneficiary. At this point we have got double dipping," he said.
He also clarified that the department was better positioned to collect data on smallholder farmers as they are at the forefront of service delivery to these farmers.
The goal is to ensure smallholder farmers can develop from being primary producers to the secondary sector involved in agro-processing.
The department assured the register is within its allocated budget for the year.
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