The Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies has gazetted the Draft AgriBEE Sector Code for public comments and inputs in a process that leads to the development of a sector focused transformation document for the agricultural sector.
The Draft AgriBEE Sector Code is a product of a negotiation process amongst stakeholders in the agricultural sector and alignment with the Codes of Good Practice, a process which was driven by the AgriBEE Charter Council.
The ministry said in a statement the AgriBEE Charter Council through the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson, submitted the charter to Davies for gazetting towards the end of 2011. The gazette means that members of the public have 60 days from the date of publish to make inputs and comments on the Draft Sector Code before it is finalised and gazetted as a legally binding Sector Code.
Davies said the key highlight of the Draft AgriBEE Sector Code is in dealing with the measurement of the Ownership element. “The Draft Sector Code makes provision for division of the Ownership element into two sections general/equity ownership and land ownership,” said Davies. This accounts for the unique make-up of the sector which can be split between land and equity ownership.
Farming Enterprises can score either on the Equity Ownership indicator, Land indicator or both with a total score limited to the weighting of 20%. Farming enterprises that transfer land in excess of 30% of their land can score up to a maximum of 5 bonus points in proportion to the total land transferred. Davies said to further support land reform in South Africa, under Enterprise Development and Socio Economic Development elements, entities get recognition for long terms leases of land to farm workers and/or to emerging black owned enterprises.
“The agricultural sector has also put more weight on skill development element as compared to the Generic Codes of Good Practice,” said Davies. He added that the emphasis is necessitated by the lack of technical skills and high levels of illiteracy in the sector.
The other key undertakings by the agriculture industry is to use Enterprise Development to support mainly land reform projects in terms of mentoring, extension services, capital provision, inputs supply, access to markets, and access to technology and infrastructure, as well as using the element to stimulate investment in rural areas and thus job creation.
Unlike the Codes of Good Practice, Qualifying Small Enterprises (QSEs) in the agriculture sector will be measured using at least five Elements of the Scorecard instead of four as prescribed in the Codes of Good Practice. The majority of companies in the agricultural sector fall in the category of QSEs and using five elements will make a huge impact on transformation in the sector, said the minister.