AgriBEE Indaba underway

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Stakeholders in the agriculture sector have come together for a two-day indaba to discuss key issues relating to the development of a Transformation Charter for Agriculture.

Government published the Draft Transformation Charter for Agriculture on the Agriculture Department?s website last month for public comment.

Opening proceedings today, Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Thoko Didiza said the indaba marked the finalisation of a journey the agricultural fraternity took in response to the BBBEE Act of 2003.

In addition, it was a response to President Thabo Mbeki?s call in May 2004 for guidelines to drive empowerment in the agricultural sector.

"The objective of this indaba is to receive inputs and comments from the public on the Draft Transformation Charter for Agriculture and to consolidate the comments into the final AgriBEE Charter.'

The stakeholders will be grappling with the scope of the charter that, said the agriculture department?s Director-General Masiphulwa Mbongwa, required refinement.

Mr Mbongwa said delegates would also decide if the sector should have one main sector charter or limited sub-sector charters, and look at the scorecard that needed further interrogation.

Also high on the agenda is the issue of implementation taking into consideration processes of land restitution.

Mr Mbongwa urged the delegates to fully digest the Codes of Good Practice set by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti).

Ms Didiza highlighted that the draft transformation charter dealt mainly with large scale agricultural business and not multinationals and SMMEs as the dti should still release the Codes of Good Practice relating to these types of businesses.

Tomorrow, the delegates are expected to bring outcomes on these aspects regarding inclusive ownership, enterprise development and BBBEE.

This will result in "the formulation of detailed action plans through a two-pronged approach including organised agriculture and the informal or emerging agriculture,' said Ms Didiza.

By Tumelo Modisane - BuaNews

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